Tooth

I have to remind myself that there are days when I get up in the morning and do all my little sequential actions: look at my phone, stand up, piss, make tea, get dressed, brush my teeth, put my hair in a ponytail, leave the house, say something at work that is agreeable, make a funny joke, perform a kind gesture, do the dishes. There are days when my kid is kind to me, when my husband is in a good mood and by some rare celestial alignment so am I.

What happened today is that I’ve been holding it together for 3 months.

It was a hard day at work, but I won’t bore you with the movements of this particular concerto. It’s pathetic crescendo was picking Lu up from daycare and being head-butted so hard my teeth clicked together, fracturing a lower front tooth. While we waiting for a bus that never came, she slapped me in the face. I hailed a cab.

I cried silently in the back of a cab while she looked at my phone, pushed my face away when I put it close to hers and told her I loved her. The driver looked at me with tenderness and helped us out of the car. I tugged Lucy’s arm when she refused to leave the car and he said to me, “don’t pull her, she will come.” He told me he had four kids. Kids are hard.

I came home with all the stuff and the kid on my hip and fulfilled the twin requirements of TV and graham crackers. I started making dinner. Take out the ingredients. Wash them. Cut them. Cook them. When Kyle walked in the door, I started sobbing so hard I choked. Loud, violent, hideous crying. The kind of crying that leaves a snot stain on the Ikea sectional like a dear john letter a week later.

Today was just another day. Spectacular in no way, except that 120 before it happened, and those were all hard, too.

How the fuck do we all do this? How do we go to work and raise kids and partners and behave politely in public and shave our legs and do laundry and wash the dirt off vegetables and eat them?

I’m lying in bed now. Kyle is taming the screaming in the next room, while I flick my tongue back and forth over the snag where a cube of tooth used to fit. I must’ve swallowed it.

Here is my mantra:

I can get up tomorrow and one thing at a time do a thousand things in a row. I know I can; I’ve proven this. The monotony will always be sliced through with solace, a gentle surprise. I hope my tooth doesn’t split. I hope I can reach down to some human cavern, untouched even by yoga or Pema Chödron or whatever kind of enlightenment I’ve ordered off Amazon Prime, and scoop out another modicum of patience I had no idea was inside me. Namaste, etc.

The thing about holding it all together is that eventually you have to let it go.

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