A Restlessness

I’m trying like heck to get a few short pieces submitted. I get tripped up by cover letters. I wonder if the piece is ready, really ready. Then I wonder if I’m waiting too long. I go to submit and end up hopping around the journal. I see names I recognize and start reading their work. Like this flash piece by Steve Edwards at SmokeLong Quarterly. “Love is a mess.”

It was not a great day of potty-training. I couldn’t seem to dig up enough enthusiasm to counter the resistance. I wasn’t patient enough. I tried to accomplish other things, and none of it really worked out. The days have been grey and confining. I wouldn’t be pushing it so much if preschool acceptance didn’t hinge on her being fully potty-trained. In a way, it’s like the weaning experience, a big change, and I’m trying to gauge readiness. The weaning process taught me that a child can be both ready and unwilling. It’s mostly a matter of being gentle. And sometimes it’s hard to be gentle when the day is grey and you’re trapped in the house thinking of a hundred other things and you realize you’ve got nothing but black to wear to this weekend’s Christmas parties and goddamnit is that unnameable idiot really, really going to be president and the paperwork needs completing and the car needs to go to the shop but for god’s sake no one’s dying and everything is fine and why can’t I just be happy batting this balloon around the kitchen with my kid? Yeah. Some days it’s just harder to be gentle. And you have to find a way to trade the guilt for forgiveness, surrender what’s passed, and look ahead to the fresh new unmarred day.

(Post 323 of 365)


6 thoughts on “A Restlessness”

  1. Potty training is a slow process, not every day is a great one but hopefully tomorrow will be a better one for you! My puppy was a monkey yesterday morning and I wanted to do was get to work but today she is curled up on my lap like the perfect pet! We can’t have it all right all the time for some reason πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find your patience amazing. I’m in awe – and I think about it as I go about daily activities – wondering how you have the strength and stamina to focus on your daughter so intently, wondering if I ever did that with Wally, I know I don’t/can’t do it with Petra (can’t in that if I’m with her Wally’s usually there too, so that one-on-one painful and difficult and protracted but also bursting with love and joy in moments– that just made me think of that Jennifer Senior book All Joy No Fun about parenting…).

    Potty training – does it work, I know it’s messy, to just let her wear underwear and see where she gets with it? Usually that works pretty quickly, especially when they get the sense that you don’t care one way or the other. Like w/ picky eating habits it seems the more attention we give (here’s one place attention isn’t as advantageous) the more they resist behavior modification. They like the show, the control. (Maybe this is all totally obvious – if so – sorry)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, thank you for this, Rachel. I felt short of strength and stamina this week. We seem to be going through a new phase, both of us. The one-on-one, “painful and difficult and protracted”–thank you for those words and depth of understanding. There is much joy, but this week felt like no fun. I’m striving to work out that tricky formula of surrender and persistence. Thank you for the straightforward potty training advice! I practiced it all day yesterday.


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