Brushing doll hair, bubbling brooks and getting unstuck

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.

creekWe did go to the park. I read my book for about an hour. They climbed, ran and explored. Eventually they found a little fairy village down by the creek and persuaded me to move myself to look.

“Isn’t it just beautiful,” my son said. “You can read and listen to the water rushing.”

It was.

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.



7 thoughts on “Brushing doll hair, bubbling brooks and getting unstuck

  1. This sounds so much like experiencing grief. I tell myself “baby steps” but some days it’s hard to take even those when I feel as though I’m wearing cement boots which stop me dead in my tracks. Thank you for sharing your journey in such a beautiful way.


    • Thank you for reading Bethany and sharing that. Cement boots…that is a perfect description of how it feels. Sending you loving thoughts and maybe I can give you a hug soon!


  2. It’s ok to hide in the pit sometimes. Hunker down and regroup.

    But you’re right…you are so ready to come out and play. You should come play at my house soon. I feel like we need book club re-do with Sarah. 🙂


    • Thanks Jill. I am ready to leave time-out. I think I’ve punished myself long enough. I’d love to come over for a “Goldfinch” play date soon. Vodka, beer and cigarettes like Boris, right?


  3. wow… now i know why your posts seem so familiar. i was in that very same pit. for way too many years. i thought i had beaten it. i thought it was over. then something amazing happened. it didn’t happen overnight, it took quite a bit of effort to even see improvement. and i didn’t do it alone.

    this is a post i wrote about what happened.

    see the thing is … i am in a new dark place. i hate to even admit it. i am fighting it everyday. and God is right alongside me. WE are fighting it, because i am not enough alone. i have to constantly remind myself to forgive those whose actions were the catalyst for this withdrawing i have done. i am not depressed, those chains are dust. yet i have pulled away from everyone, including God and i am slowly finding my way back to Him. He never gave up on me. He was always there calling me . i was just too focused on the hurt and the betrayal and i didn’t want to leave it, because a part of me still believes that the pain is what i deserve. part of me still believes that i am not worthy of such an awesome love such as His. He reminds me every day. because i see Him in every smile of my kids. you may be in that pit, but you are by no means alone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s