the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Its nickname is “The Metaphor”

So, I moved. I moved into a rental house, and unpacked boxes still line the the entire wall of the storage room, some of them spilling out into the hallway. In between business trips to New York and California and Ohio I checked math homework and made sure Leta practiced her scales. I sang Marlo her two favorite songs before turning off her light at bedtime. I finally got around to those six loads of laundry. I met with lawyers and accountants and more lawyers. I had emergency meetings with guidance counselors.

Lately I find myself thinking about the pain in my legs at mile 17 when I was running that marathon, where I had to go in my mind to ignore all the signals my body was sending me. I remember putting my head down, forcing my legs to make strides. I blocked out everything, every noise, every color, every speck of light. It would be over soon, I told myself. The whole thing would eventually be a memory. One more stride.

I told my psychiatrist about this when I saw him on Monday. I told him that my ability to cope with things right now feels a lot like my ability to cope with things at mile 17. Except I don’t have the luxury of being able to block out everything. Kids still need showers and baths and long, meaningful talks. There’s everything else that normal people have to deal with. Normal stuff. That mountain of stuff everyone has to deal with. But I’m desperate for a finish line. I keep looking for a specific 26.2-mile marker to tell me that I can finally stop running. In the meantime, one more stride.

So, I moved into a rental. It’s a solid home. And because it fulfills all of our needs I don’t care about the green faux finish in the living room. I don’t care about the faded, floral wallpaper along the staircase. I don’t care about the mustard-colored paint in all the bedrooms. None of that matters because here my girls and I have a place to share meals and blow bubbles.

I did, however, get rid of the black toilet in the main bathroom.

toilet1

toilet2

Can you even believe that thing? How are you supposed to tell if your four-year-old has gone poop in that bowl? YOU CAN’T. IT’S NOT POSSIBLE. It’s like staring into the abyss, for crying out loud. Whenever any of us used this thing we’d go to sit down and pray that we’d hit the seat and not the floor because we couldn’t see a damn thing. More than once I sat down on the closed lid because it looks exactly the same when it is open.

If anyone wants this thing it’s sitting at mile 17. I’m hanging out here for a while.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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