Yesterday I finally had to admit to myself something that I’ve been suspecting for a week or so now.
I’m displacing all of the anxiety I’m feeling about the loss of the baby onto my plans for E’s new room.
I have been, you see, obsessed with E’s new room. Obsessed to the point that I am spending WAY too much time on the internet looking at rugs and curtains and duvet covers and worrying whether something is too grey or too red or too plain or too busy.
Obsessed to the point that I am also rapidly becoming paralyzed by my obsession, incapable of actually making a decision, of committing to something, because it might turn out to be the WRONG decision and I won’t love it.
I want to love it.
I want to love every single thing about this room.
It’s as though if I can manage to make this room perfect and exactly what I’ve imagined and exactly what I know E. will love and will suit him now and will grow with him later, that will somehow help to gloss over the fact that the other room, the nursery, will be a study again, when we thought it was going to be occupied with something so much more important than books.
Yesterday I found what I thought would be the perfect duvet cover, and I loved it immediately, and I was SO happy. And then I realized it was a comforter and not a duvet cover and that the pattern didn’t come in a duvet cover at all. And I cried. I was that upset. Over a stupid non-duvet cover.
I feel this overpowering need to do something special for the child that I do have.
We never did much with the nursery. Q. painted it, and I put a lot of time and effort into choosing the crib (because I wanted solid wood) and the mattress (because I didn’t want one filled with off gassing nastiness). But all the rest of the furniture was mismatched hand-me-downs, and we just put some random things on the wall, and called it finished.
E’s new room is different. It’s not going to have a theme or anything- I’m not really a theme sort of person- but it matters to me that I spend some time on it. The nursery was always going to be temporary. This is a room he will be in for a long time- possibly until he moves out if we never have another child, as if we don’t we’ll have absolutely no reason to rationalize leaving our current house.
Plus, I know who he is now. I want his room to reflect that. So I have found a double decker bus wall decal and a red letter pillow. The walls will be grey. His duvet cover will be red. There will be a reading chair and (hopefully) horizontal bookshelves.
His room should matter.
But it shouldn’t matter as much as it does right now.
Q., in his usual perceptive way, has said to me, “E. is a toddler. As long as there is some red in there he’ll be happy.” and “E. is a toddler. Don’t get anything too nice because he’ll just wreck it.”
He’s ceded control of the room over to me entirely. He is happy not to have one more thing to think about. I am happy to be able to control its design, because I cannot control so many other things in my life, and you know, you KNOW beloved readers, how badly I cope with this. Life lesson that Turia just will not learn.
The worst part is I keep having conversations with myself along the lines of, “Well, you shouldn’t spend x on y because we’ll be doing the last FET in the summer and we need to keep money set aside for that.”
And then I get angry. Angry that my living son won’t have something that I know would be perfect for him because I’m still thinking about the child-that-might-never-come-to-be. E. won’t think he’s being neglected. But I feel like he is, like he’s being sacrificed, again, for the sake of this elusive dream.
It would be easier, too, if I knew what would be happening next year. If I knew I’d have an income, I’d feel more comfortable splurging a little bit more now, even if I still wouldn’t be able to rationalize a custom duvet cover AND custom curtains from Etsy AND a rug from Pottery Barn. (You have no idea how much I am coveting this rug.)
I’m not quite sure how to let it go.
The other outlet for my anxiety has been organizing the house. I’ve been seized by an overwhelming need to clean and organize the entire house from top to bottom. Two weekends ago I sorted through my clothes and purged all the ones I don’t wear anymore, and yesterday E. and I pulled everything out of our (very large) linen closet and we set aside a ton of things we don’t use to bring to the Goodwill. There’s still a lot to do: the two big storage closets in our basement (one of which is basically full of outgrown baby clothes, and baby toys, and baby books, and baby things, all of which I thought we were going to be using in September), the cabinets in our basement, and, especially, my study, since I’ll be moving to a much smaller room. I’m planning on chipping away at it over the next few months and hopefully by the time we can paint E.’s new room and set it up (after semester finishes in April), most of the house will be under control.
It gives me something to do.
It keeps my mind off of things.
But it’s a poor consolation prize.