Reentry

On Thanksgiving I found my cup overflowing, both figuratively and literally (not to mention the SIX pies on offer at our hosts’ potluck table). I’m going to say it, though: reentry is a bitch. I’m impatient with my kids, driven to the edge by clutter and chores, and the holiday to-do list? Totally over it.

Today I took the dog for her vaccinations, and we were almost home when she puked . . . directly into my bag.  I mean, nevermind that on any given day the bag has held:

  • a partially eaten apple
  • crumpled post-its betraying my senility (“post office”)
  • a plastic baggie containing a pair of size 4 Frozen underpants with poop in them
  • chewy Sprees I am hiding from the kids

It’s still really fucking disconcerting to have a full cup of warm, foamy dog vomit poured over the other things in there. Not my phone, at least. But every single card in my wallet had to be wiped down with disinfectant.

I tried to laugh it off to a friend. Time to make my Christmas gift wishlist: Bag, wallet, notebook, car detailing! But man, I just kinda want to sit around and feel sorry for myself. Drink an extra glass of wine and sift through today’s horrifying news feed. But that sucks too, doesn’t it? Wallowing is not actually any fun.

This morning I pulled our old, well-loved Ergo baby carrier out of the closet so I could give it to a refugee family. Sophia, ever tenderhearted, was torn. She loved the memories it represented, of baby Sophia and baby Stella cuddled up against mama, of picking cherry tomatoes at the farm, or pulling the shade up over the head of a finally-lulled-to-sleep baby on a long walk with the dog. Being close, being small, being loved. 4729_1135379354043_2929367_nI said that I understood, and that’s why I hadn’t been able to let go of it before, when so many other baby things had been passed along. But when I saw the need, I knew it was time. It wasn’t right for me to tuck it away in a closet when it could help someone else so much, bring so much comfort to a parent and child who had very little. Soph and I had talked about refugees in the car on the way to school one morning. “I know, Mom,” she said, her passion for helping awakened. “I’ll write a poem to put in the pocket for them.” This is what she wrote:

Come to America, you’re welcome here.
Come to America, we’ll keep you safe. 

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that most of the refugees are not coming to America. Or that in recent weeks, refugees have definitely not felt welcomed by America. Or that in America, land of mass shootings, purchased politicians, and decades-long overseas wars, we have maybe not felt so safe lately. I want it to be true, and I want the refugees to have that welcome and that safety. And I want Sophia, and all of us, to have the power to share it with them.

Even though she was fired up with noble purpose, she still cried when we left the Ergo. It still cost her something to share that comfort with someone else. And I regret that I was not as patient with her as I should have been. I was all about moving on, and getting to school on time, and getting the dog to the vet. That was wrong of me. It does cost something, and it is hard to find ways to make a difference or even a dent, and the constant stream of bad news can wear you down.

But I promise you, and Sophia, and the next baby who’ll fall asleep in that Ergo: I’ll keep trying.

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