Don't ask about Valentine's Day.
But I won't tell you that Kurt got sushi and made a fancy dessert with peppered strawberries and he rented the Twilight movie, which I couldn't even take because I mean, we all know what you're capable of, Edward. We know you can't help but leave bruises.
That's as close as we get to a good time.
I'm perfectly fine, now.
I planned the preschool valentine party. There was a pinata. I can get through the day, now. I can look myself in the eye, in the mirror.
This is something the probably happens all the time, for me. I get down so low that I'm breathing mud, and then one morning I'm not. When I was in labor with Scouty, my mom took Kurt aside and told him that I get into dark moods. I'm not sure if she meant to warn him, or to commiserate. I think she probably wanted to tell him the truth, that I might not be okay for a while after this. That I'm probably one of those moms who doesn't bounce back after delivery.
The thing that is frustrating for people is that there's nothing they can do about me. Nothing can make me better. Nothing can happen to change things. It's a trick of the light or something. It's a story on the news. It's a grey day and a flood on the other side of the world. It's that time we broke the ocean, and then stopped talking about it. It's boredom and groceries and congealing pasta on the stove, again. It's a night where I don't sleep that turns into something bleak and subtle. It's the zing of a knife from the block. It's that easy. It's nothing and it's debilitating and there's nothing you can do but wait me out.
Because, one morning, it will be the sunlight through the blinds and a little hand on my arm while I'm sleeping. It will be shortcake and ice cubes in mint tea. It will be golden earrings and a new dress, the quilt from my teenage years with its stuffing coming out in clumps. It will be a song and a lump in my throat. It will be a walk to the end of the earth. One morning, I will still be human and there will still be no point, but everything will be okay.
I think that's all my mom meant, when she took my husband, (then-boyfriend) aside.
Did you know that, on that same day, Kurt's mother also took my mom aside and told her, "Amanda is Kurt's soul mate."
I'm sure that I'm not exactly what anybody dreamed their son would bring home to dinner, but I was his soul mate. That counts for a fuck of a lot when everybody is shaking their head and wringing their hands, and this baby came on the heels of an arrest and another stint in rehab. It counts for a lot when you don't believe in these people, when they're your kids and you're scared of them, scared for them. Love has to count for something.
And so now, we're signing that baby up for Kindergarten. We've given her a sister and a home in the city. She's happy and tall and kind. I'm the homeroom mother for her preschool class and I stayed up late cutting out hearts from construction paper.
I'm not sure what my point is, except to say that all of these things matter for something, even if I'm not sure there's a reason for all of this. My girl got a shoebox full of valentines, and I remember that. I remember Valentine's Day when I was a kid. I gave one of the BIG valentines to a boy I liked and my friend teased me. His name was Peter. I am 33 years old, and I remember all of that. Maybe there isn't a point except that it feels okay to live this way and it didn't feel okay to live that other way. It felt good a lot, but I knew it wasn't okay.