Thursday, January 29, 2015

you and me, baby

How is it even possible that I feel even busier now than I did with a full time job?

It's been three weeks since starting part time work in church but in all that time I've maybe only spent three full days home with Nana. Discounting the week that I was away in HCMC, I feel like I've been running around from one appointment to the next, what with the medical appointments at NUH and KKH, key collection at HDB and meetings with the contractor, church meetings and events.

A lot of things have been unknowingly chipping away at me recently. A careless comment fringed in good intentions here, a trivial incident there--light as snowflakes coming to rest on a roof, harmless. Things I brushed off as easily as they fell on my shoulders, but over time, I realize that I haven't felt whole in while. It's all building up, the weight of unspoken expectations, well meaning advice and the feeling that I don't quite measure up..  not being around enough as a mom, not doing enough for my husband as a wife, not chipping in enough as a daughter/daughter-in-law, not serving enough in church, not doing enough work to justify my job. And I think, which will be the snowflake that will finally break me?

Yesterday I spent the rare day home with Johanna when the MIL went out to run errands, and I found out something new about my daughter. I mean, it's not like I didn't know she loves her grandma who's her primary caregiver, but I didn't realize just how clingy she was to her! We got out of bed and sent daddy off to work, and the baby was all bubbly and happy. As nai nai waved goodbye and closed the door behind her though, it was like a storm broke. Immediately, her face crumpled and she held her breath (and I held mine in knowing anticipation), and let out an ear piercing shriek. She then proceeded to continue said ear piercing shriek for the next half an hour, with nothing I could do to calm her down, short of running after her grandmother and begging her to take the baby back.

Desperate, I strapped on the baby hipseat and whisked Nana downstairs for a walk, hoping the waking neighborhood and passing cars might be distraction enough to break her out of her tantrum. It worked. And there we were walking aimlessly under the void deck, she in her pink PJs, red-rimmed eyes and sweaty head; me in my sleeping shorts and FBT singlet and bed head (pixies do not do well just out of bed), feeling all auntie-like. We settled on a dirty, cigarette-stained chair and watched as our neighbors passed by, going on with their daily lives, and I pointed out the way the sun shone through the trees, the cars and buses trundling by, the black cat with the scruffy ears that roamed the void deck. The morning chill still lingered in the air and the breeze ruffled Johanna's baby hair, tickling my nose, and for the first time in a long time I felt at peace and filled with a renewed sense of yes, I can do this.

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