I lost myself today in doll play for almost an hour.
My daughter and I brushed hair and dressed her dolls for various events. Kit and Eva were headed horseback riding, so they needed jeans and ponytails. Obviously. Peppa wanted to work on her Easter look. We decided on a pink jumpsuit with a light blue sweater.
I brushed Rebecca’s sweet red hair into a little puff on the top of her head, just like I used to when she was my doll. I touched her soft skin and smiled at those big, blue eyes. It’s strange how much my sweet girl looks like her.
Nathaniel needed a diaper change. As I took off the diaper cover, the very one that I put on my daughter a few hours after her birth, I saw the perfect stitches my mom had made. I remember crying when his leg fell off, but moms know how to fix things like that.
The smell and feeling of childhood filled me.
Warmth. Safety. Love.
I got lost in play.
It was like someone returned my favorite blanket after years of looking for it. It was still warm and smelled of my babies and happiness.
I wrapped myself in it and tried to remember how it used to feel.
When my children were very little I played all the time. Hours would be spent as pirates, having parades, caring for a room full of dolls or having elaborate parties with all sorts of stuffed critters.
Somehow I lost the energy to do any of that.
I still craft with my kids often, build Lego creations and play the occasional board game.
But that lose-yourself-in-their-world kind of play seems to have slipped away from me.
I don’t even know when it started, but it has escalated to this conversation yesterday.
Son: “Can you take us to the park?”
Daughter: “You can read your book, we won’t bother you or anything.”
Me: “OK. But I really want to read.”
Son: “We will leave you alone.”
That conversation hurt.
This is not the mom I used to be or the one I want to be.
I am stuck.
“Isn’t it just beautiful,” my son said. “You can read and listen to the water rushing.”
I stopped reading and watched them floating leaves down the creek and making houses for gnomes and fairies. The creek bubbled and flowed by.
I wanted to join them, but I just watched.
I was envious of how happy and carefree they were.
I want to be there again.
But I am stuck. Rooted in this place that I don’t want to be.
Last week, after writing my blog, people surrounded me with love and offers of support. It was so much and filled me with hope.
“Thanks for calling me,” I told one friend.
“Thanks for picking up,” she said.
“I almost didn’t,” I said.
“I know,” she responded.
People get this. I am not alone.
I hate it. I don’t like feeling this way. I want to be able to shake myself out of this funk and just be happy. Be filled with joy and playfulness. Reverse time and return to my former self.
But the reality is that I AM stuck and I need some reinforcements. Stat.
I booked and WENT to a counseling appointment. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time. It felt almost like defeat.
Admitting I’m depressed was hard.
Doing something about it is proving to be even harder.
Part of me has been holding onto the depression and not wanting to let it go. I am getting comfortable in this stuck feeling. It’s easy to hunker down in it, hide and excuse myself from going after the things I want or doing the things I should.
But if you squint really hard you can see that I am moving forward. I’m wiggling out of this pit and I see lots of people standing above reaching to help and cheering me on.
I see you and I’m trying.