The Texture Of Things

Making it Better

September 13th, 2006

There are stories brewing in my bones. I will tell them one at a time, or I will try to, anyway. It’s odd, in a way, to tell stories here because stories inherently have audiences, but I don’t really think anyone will read this blog ever. There is no audience here, but maybe myself. That’s okay. I am writing to tell a story because I don’t want it to be lost when my daughter is old enough and/or wants to know it. It is a mother’s story of a daughter and her family. For now, the only audience I can imagine is that future daughter, I guess. Whatever actual audience gathers is secondary.

Some of these stories are funny, some dry. Some are happy and some not-so-much. Who even knows what the stories will be, what they’ll tell when all their pieces parts are gathered together to make a whole? Who can see it from within its middle?

I will tell a story about a life. I will tell it in increments.

A 25-minute drive from here, in a portable crib set up in the guest room at her babysitter’s house, sleeps my 27-month-old daughter. She is napping. (This is an assumption since she periodically ditches her afternoon nap, but it is overall a safe bet.) She is the finest thing I’ve ever done, and she is simultaneously the hardest thing I do on any given day. This is not because she is difficult. Not by any stretch. But parenting her is the one thing in my life that has such profound consequences and I do not want to screw this up.

But we do screw up. Every day, parents across the globe screw up. My parents screwed up, my friends’ parents screwed up, their parents screwed up. It’s what parents do. Sure, we’re human, but my point is more than that. It’s personal. I hate screwing up. When I catch myself in or after the act of screwing up, I am disappointed in myself. Thick disappointment that casts a shadow over anything I’ve done right that day.

I cannot act like I am the only mother who felt this way, but some days I do feel like my precious cargo is extraordinarily fragile. My tot has what I call “texture issues”, for lack of a more knowledgeable term. It presents itself as an intolerance to physical contact with many textures. It is coupled with anxiety about those textures, either after having touched one or in anticipation of something not-okay touching her or anyone she has ever met or known. I am pursuing help for her, with my husband’s cooperation, but it is slow in coming (is therapy ever fast?) and that is tortuous some days.

I don’t know why she won’t eat anything besides dry, crunchy things or thoroughly pureed foods or why she cries when liquid spills or touches her; I only know I want to help her, because a mother is the one who helps you when you need it. A mother makes it all better.

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