The First Forty Days
Get out of bed. Feel chest heave with each shallow breath. Wonder, “How will I make it through the day?”
Get back in bed. Repeat.
Read the news. World suffering cheers me up.
Go to Work. Feel terrible. Act normal. Talk myself out of panic attacks.
Put on happy face and avoid breaking the tear dam at work. “My kids are great! Getting big!”
Offer bitter advice to friends having kid issues, “Your kids drive you crazy? Send them away.”
Say to self, “I did not abandon my children. I did not abandon my children. I did not abandon my children.” Did I?
Suspect that a long term relationship with my wonderful boyfriend is hopeless.
I end December by breaking up with my boyfriend and making a 10,000 mile round trip to surprise my kids for Christmas. I come home accompanied by fear and regret (for kids, not boyfriend).
The Back Forty:
Start the new year strong: Don’t think about kids! What kids?? See? Breathe Stephanie.
Go to Sundance Film Festival and act like I'm a big deal.
Record and send my daily “Happy mommy videos” to my kids via their father. Hope he will not delete. Will they like it? Will they care?
Sigh at 10 minute intervals.
Breathe normally when not sighing.
Pay undue attention to my undeserving cat.
Daydream: “What if I could raise my children all over again but without the same mistakes?” Eat my heart out again.
I end this 40th day interval by making another 10,000 mile round trip to celebrate my 35th with my babies. Friday is terrible. Saturday, we go to counseling. Sunday, I celebrate and leave.
Next 40 days? I’m coming to get you.