Today, every time I sat my writer's ass down in my writer's chair to work, Demon Baby beckoned me. What did he need? The list was endless:
Pull up my pants
Get me orange juice
Make me noodles
You didn't make them right, make 'em again
Wipe my butt
Pretend I am a dog and pet me in my doghouse
Wipe my butt (this is my official job since no one else in the house is interested in toilet training)
Play "boat and pirate"
Change your iPod to the Clash
No, don't kiss me, because you have cooties and are gross
Get me cheese (the cheese fetish this kid has is alarming)
You get the idea.
And I am reminded of Betty Friedan:
"It is urgent,” she said, “to understand how the very condition of being a housewife can create a sense of emptiness, non-existence, nothingness in women. There are aspects of the housewife role that make it almost impossible for a woman of adult intelligence to retain a sense of human identity, the firm core of self or ‘I’ without which a human being, man or woman, is not truly alive. For women of ability, in America today, I am convinced there is something about the housewife state itself that is dangerous.”
Now, I am not--narrowly speaking--a housewife. In fact, in some ways, I am something even more exhausting. I am a full-time writer, supporting my family as I work from home, with no child care help and very little support, with four children, doing all those empty chores . . . while trying to preserve a sense of me.
And into this world Demon Baby was born.
It is difficult, even with this blog, to convey the very idea that not FIVE minutes can go by without something crashing, without him needing ME. And I cannot tell you how often I hear Betty Friedan whispering in my ear. Mocking me, maybe. "Your IQ? Twenty books published? A butt wiper?"
So it has been that Buddhism and service has been my salvation. The very idea that the ACT of love, of sacrifice, is a religious or spiritual ritual in and of itself.
I do it imperfectly. I really do. But I strive to see this altar of my Demon Baby as something beautiful. The idea that I was here when he took his first breath in this world. And one day, perhaps, he will be by my bedside as I take my last, but somehow, the cosmic umbilical cord remains. He is mine, and I am his, and we are forever linked.
Don't get me wrong . . . Freidan spoke of something very real. She spoke of the mind-numbing reality of running a household.
But I guess, today, as I watch my Demon Baby sleep . . . I see something more, something different.
I see love.