My mind has been a total circus lately. I woke up on Tuesday with a deep gash in my leg from my own thumbnail. It sent me into a spin: If I can’t keep my own nails trimmed, I thought, how will I take care of a baby and trim her nails and how do you even bathe them? Aren’t they slippery? And what about those little suction-y things? And why have people given me mitts? And what if I can’t hear her crying? And what about when she gets older and glares at me over uneaten-quinoa across the kitchen table? What if she says she hates me?
I spent the rest of the day wandering around in a wrinkled dress trying to figure out how I could be thirty-four years old and still believe that wrinkles just magically fall out of clothes.
Yesterday’s anxiety was more generalized. I took an early walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was gorgeous, and the sky was so blue, and the city so perfect, and What, I kept thinking, is the purpose of life? Why do we write and love and grasp and grapple, and all day I was coming up empty handed. Students came in and out of my office. One told me a story of her estranged father reattaching the neck of a tiny ceramic goose he had given her mother years earlier. Maybe that’s it, I thought. Or maybe the way this light’s coming in; or this kick from the baby; or this perfect peach.
By the time I left the office and was walking to yoga, my mom called back. I had left a message that I had two questions.
Her: What’s up, girly?
Me: Hey momma. How do you get rid of a sty?
Her: Warm, moist heat.
Me: Great. Thanks. Okay. What’s the purpose of life?
Her: Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.
Me: I thought you might say that.
We hung up, and I went to yoga where I fell into a deep and peaceful sleep and woke up only to eat an Organic Oreo.
So, folks, my mother’s weighed in–though she may change her tune now (I was kidding! Do you think they’ll know I was kidding!?!)–I need more. Purpose of life, please.