It's been almost a year, and I still haven't quite settled into my new role.
All the things I thought made me so unique and wonderful were a crock of shit. I was lonely, and the only thing I had to keep out the cold reality of life was my own illusion of how great I was.
Until October, there were things I'd never known, and was unable to fathom. In so many ways, I never really lived until October 27th.
The 26th was the longest night of my life. I remember watching the clock, and the hands never moved. Seven a.m. was all I could think about, because that was the time I was scheduled to be wheeled to the O.R. for emergency surgery. Surgery. That was something for other people.
The nurses were in and out, and when they would smile and say, "Get some sleep," I'd think how impossible that even was. Knowing how dire the situation was, my blood pressure being near the stratosphere, my hands and feet swelling, best of all, the thirty pounds of sheer water weight I'd put on in a day. All of that made sleep impossible.
My best friend and my boyfriend were there the whole night. While I sat awake, my blood pressure being taken, I watched them sleep. I thought about seven a.m.
We sleep like parentheses. Me on the outside, him blocking the other side of the bed. Between us, something I was told would never happen. We sleep like this, trying to block everything else in the world out. The things that make the news and make you glad it wasn't you. We sleep blocking out the bad, with everything in the world that's right and beautiful between us. We tell ourselves we're different and nothing bad will touch us. Our feet press together, The warmth of it puts me to sleep.
Seven a.m. and I'm ready. I've never been less ready in my life. Anesthesia is a funny thing. Euphoric. I think about how if I die, I won't really mind, because I can't feel anything.
My fiance's there with me, dressed in scrubs. I can tell how worried he is, and I hold his hand. Try to tell him how much he means to me. I try to tell him that what we have is something that steals my words. I love him. I've given him something no man has ever gotten. He has everything I have to offer. I think all of this, and can barely manage to mouth "love you." He squeezes my hand.
I've done everything I'm supposed to. Exercise, eating right, drinking enough water to keep me on the verge of pissing myself. I never felt any kind of emotion I thought I was supposed to.
As they were cutting me open, I felt the tug and pull, but no real pain. I wondered if I was supposed to feel something, and then it happened.
One cry. That first cry, and everything spilled over. It was my daughter's voice. A minute later, my son. There wasn't enough room in my chest for my heart.
They're closing in on a year. Just a few weeks away, actually. I'm still the same old Sal, but I'm completely different.
Last night, my son got his first taste of a tostada. He did pretty well. I had one glorious bite left, when he started choking. I looked into his eyes, reached for him, and as I was patting his back and telling him it was okay, he grinned. Choking on his dinner, and he grins at me.
Then, he threw up all over my chest. (I managed to save that last bite for myself before he erupted. It's a fucking tostada, people. Delicious.)
It's those kind of things that kill me. That love and trust. The absolute fucking trust that his mom will make it better.
I have no idea what I'm doing. I wake up every day, spend time with them, and try to show them how much I love them both. I think about the things in my childhood that tore me down. How it's so much easier to build up a child than to try to repair years of damage in an adult.
Just about everyday I think that I'm not enough. I have no idea how a good parent acts. I think that, chew on it all day long, and then I get one of their grins. Full of shit and sunshine. And I tell myself that maybe I can do this. Maybe I am meant for this.
Just before I go to sleep, one head firmly lodged in my stomach, and one pair of chubby feet burrowed under my boob, I look over at him. Eyes closed, with baby feet firmly planted in his side, he mumbles to me. And that's what does it. I can sleep, those words will make it possible.
"Thank you for all this."