Passing the Bed

July 31, 2009

He has asked so many questions that don’t have answers and I’m just so tired. I ask him to help his brother. I say, “He’s going to get hurt, can you help him?” He asks, “Why will he get hurt?” I answer through gritted teeth, “He just will! Just help him!” Then he sighs and his big blue eyes look sad and I wish I could find the strength for more patience and less surprising anger.

When I walk into my room to get dressed, I pass the crumpled bed and want to get in it. I want to curl up on my side and cry. I’m not sure why, but I want to do it. I start to walk that way and then I see her, the me in my mind’s eye, on her side in the bed where I am not. She looks like she’s repeating history. She is carrying this disease and she thinks she isn’t and then sometimes she thinks she is this disease. She is me and I am her and she is them and she is not.

She is so afraid that she’s given it to them.

I know that if I were to walk in and find her curled there, I’d think she should get up. I’d think she should shake it off. It’s not her fault she’s there, but she needs to get up, I’d say. Then I’d wonder if some of it is her fault, because I know memories of ridiculous choices can flood in and bring with them the funk, curling her up.

So I get dressed. I wash my face of yesterday’s make-up and I put one foot in front of the other to make sure that I’m not her or them or her past. I fight it because I know that when I do, it gets a little better.

I fake it sometimes, but strangely, most of the time I’m truly reveling in the buried joy. The miraculous happiness that comes through the eyes of my boys. We make a hide-out in a closet and they are thrilled with their flashlights in the dark. I well up with joy because they are who they are and I believe we can change this. Even if it doesn’t stop, it can be lighter, it can get better. Even if they feel it, they can learn that it doesn’t define them. I will tell them. They can learn from the truths we speak over them…

You are lovely. You are worthy. You are good. Just exactly as you are. This heavy weight of sadness, it can never be who you are.

I can say it with words from my mouth, and I can say it by walking away from the bed, uncurled and dressed.

“Can we go to the park?” He asks carefully. And I say yes even though I don’t want to because I know that it’s the right thing to do. I put one foot in front of the other and he rides with training wheels beside me. He says, “You’re great, Mom.” Then through my tightening throat where my heart wells up with this mercy, I say, “So are you, little man.”

“I know,” he says.

I laugh with unleashed joyand I think, please keep knowing…please keep knowing…please…

We are sometimes sadness, but mostly we are grace.

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave July 31, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I'm glad that you hit "Publish Post"

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Chele July 31, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Definitely glad you hit publish post! You had me in tears! keep on doing that… Put one foot in front of the other and always publish post, it reveals the real you. The real you is beautiful! :) Hugs!

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Mommy Mo July 31, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I think a lot of us can identify with you (raising hand over here).

That's why I make my bed every single morning. If it's already made, it is less likely that I will unmake it to crawl into it : ).

Hugs my friend. Only 30 days until I see you again!

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Becca July 31, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I want that, what he has. That ability to say "I know" and that ability to really know it.

Moments of grace, indeed – when that comes.
Beautiful post. Thanks!

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The Motherboard July 31, 2009 at 2:33 pm

She is me and I am her and she is them and she is not.

That is simply beautiful.

How is it we have never met, and yet we are living parallel lives? I too someday's survive simply by putting one foot in front of the other.

You are not alone my sister, my friend.

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Kim July 31, 2009 at 2:39 pm

This is perfect Heather. It is a struggle we all feel (and if we don't admit to it, we're lying).

I keep praying the same thing, please keep knowing, please keep knowing…maybe if they do, I can start to remember it about myself.

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Peanut July 31, 2009 at 2:39 pm

You describe exactly how I feel most of the time… everything. It's validating and normalizing to read it through your eyes.
I love those moments of grace… I think they're what get me through.

And I know what you mean about hitting publish… when I write all open like this, I feel so exposed and vulnerable, but I hope that my honesty can help someone, which is why, like you, I do it. So thanks, my friend. Today, you helped me.

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Susan B. July 31, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I'm glad you shared it. I have days like that too, and I am not always so graceful. I need to get better at putting one foot in front of the other and getting my kids out the door……it helps so much!

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Willow Tree July 31, 2009 at 3:47 pm

It's almost 4:00 and I still want to get back in bed. I know what you're going through. Not like a I get it, like an I've Got it.

Thank God for Grace… and parks and little boys who love us.

Blessings,
Carolynn

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Pam at beyondjustmom July 31, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Yes, we are sometimes sadness, and so many of us have struggled through it. Thank you so much for sharing this! It is a ministry for people to know that happy, grateful, bubbly people like you can carry and bury a sadness inside. And we all need that grace.

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MsPicketToYou July 31, 2009 at 4:19 pm

sigh. that was lovely.

and just what i needed.

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Kimberly July 31, 2009 at 4:28 pm

My life is embodied in the words of this post. Even down to the crumpled bed and washing off yesterday's make up. Bless you for being brave enough to be honest, for unmasking despite the allure of the pretending-to-be-ALWAYS-happy. You're a blessing in my life and that of so many others.

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Kristina P. July 31, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Why don't you have a book deal yet?

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The Rambler July 31, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Like the others I'm glad you hit publish! So many emotions came to play while reading this. Mostly I understood it…you know.

All my best.

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H-Mama July 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I appreciate your honesty, Heather. We all have those moments, days… sometimes weeks. Keepin' it real. (((((hugs)))))

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Chief July 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm

This touched me. Thank you.

I too, worry that I may have passed along the "sad" gene to my children. I find myself watching for it every day in their eyes, their mannerisms, their speech.

It is so heart warming to know I am not alone

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Christy July 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us. I so get it. And I'm so glad you wrote it, and I hope that that in itself helps, even a little bit. Because YOU are great too.

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♥georgie♥ July 31, 2009 at 6:01 pm

absolutely beautiful…i am blurry eyed and speechless…

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Em July 31, 2009 at 6:02 pm

"I know," he says.

The proof that you have made the correct choices. Incredible mama.

And some days I wonder how I possibly put one foot in front of the other before I learned about blogging and the incredible people my computer holds – to know that I'm not alone in this struggle. Words cannot convey the gratitude felt as I type this comment.

Thank you.

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Anonymous July 31, 2009 at 6:13 pm

What's with the posts today? They have me all teary eyed and totally relating.
I am going to go make my bed now;)
Chelsea

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Corinne July 31, 2009 at 6:48 pm

I read this a little while ago, then had to compose myself and help with the bedtime routine… with tears in my eyes! Heather, you are an amazing writer. You've hit on what so many of us feel on a daily basis.

Thank you for writing. Please don't ever stop :)

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Carrie July 31, 2009 at 6:58 pm

This is absolutely beautiful – it brought tears to my eyes.

Some people say that faking happiness is wrong, but I don't think so at all, especially in front of our children. I think they deserve it, and I'm glad they're helping you overcome the sadness.

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Katina July 31, 2009 at 7:57 pm

So beautifully written and so very honest. I love it. Your boys are lucky to have you. Here's to the out of bed and dressed days, even if they're hard.

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Jolene July 31, 2009 at 8:03 pm

WOW,I've been there sooo many times. Today was one of those days, or, um week was one of those weeks, I should say! I think tomorrow, I'm going to get up and cuddle my kiddos, especially Jonathan and if he wants to go to the park, I will! Thanks!

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Kelly @ Love Well July 31, 2009 at 8:53 pm

WOW!

Your vulnerability is beautiful, Heather. You hit the right button.

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Angie July 31, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Another perfect post, friend, because it is perfectly you. I'm so thankful you are willing to put yourself out there… I learn grace from you. Praying you will find strength in His joy, rest in His peace and grace in His love. Blessings.

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Midwest Mommy July 31, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Thank you for talking about this. I think too many moms are too afraid to go there. It needs to be said. Hugs.

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Haley July 31, 2009 at 9:14 pm

This speaks volumes to me and is more true than ever.

I'm right here with you…trust me.

Beautiful.

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april July 31, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I'm glad you decided to post this. I totally know how you feel.

A few years ago I had to totally re-learn how to be happy and I still work at it. Every.single.day.

You are very lovely and worthy and beautiful.

Lotsoflove.

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Steph @Red Clay Diaries July 31, 2009 at 9:28 pm

I'm amazed at how we funny-yet-angsty women seem to find each other. You are me, and I am you.

Thanks for sharing this. Good for me to read. ;)

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Terresa July 31, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I was there in bed when my twins were newborns and my oldest was still a toddler. 3 kids in diapers, 2 of them tandem nursing and all of them needing things I couldn't give.

Although that time is far away now, it creeps back some moments, some days as the dark scary monster in the closet. Glad I'm not the only one to have that visitor…

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Roban July 31, 2009 at 10:21 pm

My mom often chose to hide in her crumpled bed, so I think it's wonderful that you're able to put your children's needs first, wash off that make-up and head outside…. Somehow, things can seem a little better when you focus on who you're with or where you're at…. Children's faces and smiles and a bit of sunshine can make getting out of bed a little more worthwhile.

I haven't 'known' you for very long, yet I'm glad I found you….

Hugs,

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This Heavenly Life July 31, 2009 at 10:31 pm

You – are amazing. You – deserve happiness. You – are a wonderful mother. All these things I learned about you from this beautifully written post :)

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Tiaras July 31, 2009 at 10:51 pm

beautiful and so wonderful that you put your children first!

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L.T. Elliot July 31, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I needed this post so badly. I needed to know that other people understand me, get me, and get how hard it can be just to make it through the day. I needed to know that it can be fought, I can not damage–I can have grace for myself and for them.

You are so beautiful, Heather. Thank you. Thank you.

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Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility July 31, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I feel similar on many, many days…

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Lara July 31, 2009 at 11:56 pm

This is one of the most powerful and true things I have ever read. I can't even articulate all I learned in the last few minutes by reading this. Thank you.

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Betty August 1, 2009 at 12:41 am

beautiful, real and brave. Sometimes even in blog world motherhood is all funny stories and overflowing joy and blessing..which it is but at times it can also be ugly and draining. I think if all mothers were as honest as you are in this post, we'd have fewer days like this….there is strength in numbers and graceful Mommies are powerful.

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tinycandi August 1, 2009 at 12:49 am

Beautifully written! I'm also glad you posted this.

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Kazzy August 1, 2009 at 2:26 am

Those tight-throat moments are so important as fuel for the rest of the day.

We talk about enduring to the end, but maybe it means to the end of the day. And then we start over.

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mama-face August 1, 2009 at 10:09 am

I know when I come to visit you, I will be touched and become reflective and often cry. (In a good way.) I have to catch up on your blogher posts!

I wish you would write for me about an experience I'm having with a friend. Is there any way you could send some of your energy my way?

Please?

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Beth August 1, 2009 at 10:36 am

This is incredible. You have given voice to the feelings that SO MANY MOTHERS have, myself included. Thank you for that.

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Eowyn August 1, 2009 at 11:37 am

Wow. All that I could say has already been said. I will be better today because of this!

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deb August 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm

is it this that gives us the need to write.
each day onward
or not , and tuck it away
folded , part of the who you are

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Mammatalk August 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm

I love how you are able to put your emotions down so poetically. It is a gift!

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Kerri August 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Oh, Heather. As someone who dearly loves more than one person with severe depression, I am absolutely moved by this post. You are victorious every time you pass that bed, and not only are you victorious, but you are remarkable! Forts, flashlights, fun…your mothering is teaching your children resilience. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely thoughts.

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Mama Zen August 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I feel this. Deeply.

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Kathy August 1, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Your words ring true…more than you know..

Profoundly grateful that you shared.

Living one foot in front of the other….

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Debbie August 1, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Oh Heather! This is what I have been missing:)

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Izzy 'N Emmy August 1, 2009 at 10:07 pm

*really tight hugs and lots of smiles*

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Bonnie August 2, 2009 at 9:27 am

Thank you so much for having the courage to share this post. I often look around and feel like I'm alone in this sadness I feel. I thought I was different. Thank you for helping me realize I'm not alone.

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Amber Lynae August 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Your son was right you are great. This post has such strong emotion. Thank you for sharing something so personal. It strengthens us who have been there, or who are there. You raise us up with your honesty.

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fruitlady August 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Tears just welled up in my eyes. We truly are not alone, and yet we live so isolated. I think through our blogs we are finally recreating the villages we gave up so very long ago. You are now, after reading just one post, a part of my village.

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Wendi @ Every Day Miracles August 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm

So wonderful Heather! I loved it all – but the last line especially hit me with it's truth.

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Stesha August 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Shame on you for making me cry!

Great post!

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

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Megan @ Hold it Up to the Light August 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I am weeping. Cause the bed was mine today and tomorrow I'll say "Sure" and get up and make it happen.

You. Are. Brave.

I want to be brave.

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Rach@In His Hands August 2, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Hugs to a lady who is great and brave and real and strong and lovely.

Praying for grace, friend.

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Jo@Mylestones August 3, 2009 at 7:32 am

That last line got me. Thank God for mostly grace.
Love your words. Love you.

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Corey August 3, 2009 at 10:48 am

Thank you for articulating the struggle. I watch for it in my biological daughter and am thankful that this is one thing my adopted kids will not get from me…

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Lee of MWOB August 4, 2009 at 1:00 am

Oh Heather…now I'm all teary. Holy shit lady. Thank God you didn't read this one at the community keynote.

You are so friggin' awesome and what I would give to have you in my real life.

Seriously. I mean, seriously.

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jubilee August 4, 2009 at 8:09 am

Thank you for sharing what so many of us can't.
((hugs))

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Deb August 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

i've been walking around (well, mostly sitting around) with this post in my head for the past couple of days. i should have commented when i first read it, because my words might have been a bit more, well, uplifting? my mood is sucking right now and i can't be nice to anyone (not even you, sista!). now that the kids are older, i don't have to put on an act. it's good, because they are clueless, but it is bad, because i don't have an excuse to get myself out of my head. grrr….

nice, huh?

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Tooj August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

I tell anyone who comes to me with sadness or anger that life is too short to be consumed by negativity. Stop, and take a look around, I tell them. See the simple joys you've got. And many times it works and helps them through their daily strife. I realize, though, that I need someone to do that for me. And it is for this reason that I love blogland. I know this post was sadness and quiet spirit together, but I see the happiness. It helped me see the simple joys around me and won't allow me to dwell on negativity today. I hope it did the same for you.

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ChurchPunkMom August 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it, I can relate in so many ways. :)

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Karl August 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Grace, indeed. There is no greater antidepressant than a child to me. And believe me, I've been on a lot of pharmaceuticals.

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Amy August 14, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hi, I just found your blog today, through mckmama's blog…Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful, and you are an amazing writer!

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Amy August 14, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hi, I just found your blog today, through mckmama's blog…Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful, and you are an amazing writer!

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Amy August 14, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hi, I just found your blog today, through mckmama's blog…Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful, and you are an amazing writer!

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txmomof3 February 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

You are so brave. And beautiful. You can't know how many women you inspire every day. Thank you for hitting "publish" on this one.

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Allison Zapata August 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

I love this. I feel this. Beautifully written.

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Erica September 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm

This hit me. Hard.
Erica recently posted..It Hurts

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Robin | Farewell, Stranger September 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for linking to this in the chat today. I know that feeling all too well.
Robin | Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Construction-Zone Craziness

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Katie November 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thank you for writing this. The one part that really resonated with me was “She is so afraid that she’s given it to them”. I have bipolar disorder and I was just thinking that I never want to have children because I could possibly pass it on to them. I just don’t know if I can go through that. It’s nice to see that there are moments of happiness with your kids. Maybe that will one day be possible for me.

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