Wednesday, May 23, 2018

our night selves

Artist Minna Dubin started making #MomLists as a way to continue her artistic practice when time was fragmented but her parenting experience called out for documentation. She encourages others to make them too. 

Photo by Nong Vang / Unsplash
1. Our routine is already haphazard. You ate peanut butter crackers and a cookie for dinner. Can I even call it a routine? Or dinner?
2. Neither of us is good at this—the pivot from semi-solidity into liquid night.
3. Your other mom works late. We Facetime with her and you cry into the camera.
4. You shift again. We sing “The Scientist” (the Glee version). Your voice is sweet and I marvel that you already carry a tune better than I do.
5. Your bedtime babble: a pastiche of airplanes, police dogs, your school friends’ catch phrases.
6. The negotiation phase: You run to the living room for “one toy!” I eat the quesadilla you abandoned next to the bed.
7. Yes, we eat in bed.
8. You are distraught. It was your favorite “taco.” I make another one, but the tortilla crumbles like my will, and you want yellow cheese, not white.
9. Neither of us is good at this. You kick and howl and hit me in the face.
10. I text Mama: I’m a jerk who does not know how to put a child to bed. I shouldn’t have eaten that tortilla. She says: He’s three. I say: Am I one of those parents who, if my kid came out as gay in 1975, would sob “WHERE DID I GO WRONG?” like a martyr/narcissist?
11. When I was a kid I would stop my mom in the doorway after she kissed me goodnight. I lobbed the big questions like a slap: Am I normal? She always said yes; I always suspected appeasement.

Photo by Larm Rmah / Unsplash

12. Sleep comes. It is heavy, graceful, fickle.
13. My night self is an addict: for the blue light of my phone, the dopamine rush of its games, the thumb-flick of scrolling.
14. For handfuls of Goldfish crackers and time alone, off the clock for the first time since 6 am.
15. You half wake, angry about a handful of toy cars I put away. 
16. Our night selves suspect we are powerless—to the control of parents, the creep of disease, the threat of apocalypse. To dream demons.
17. Our night selves are not wrong.
18. Daylight always comes, but so does nightfall. I suppose it’s good that nature can find a rhythm, even as we fight it.
19. “The sun is up?” you say. During the night, you landed in our bed. My hand covers most of your chest.
20. We peer between the curtains. We see roofline and palm trees and sun.

Photo by Devin Avery / Unsplash


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