The Day I Had All the Spoons



That herd of hungry cows is far too close to the hay wagon, in my opinion. But my littlest shrieks with delight from my lap, and my oldest looks on with wide, sparkling eyes. We continue to bump down the dirt road, our jovial driver stopping at points of interest. A tiny blonde named Peyton is seated next to me, and I completely melt when she decides to rest her little hand on my leg for the duration of the ride. She peeks up at me every so often to make sure I’m ok with it. After jostling past a parade of dreamy cherry trees, the wagon pulls back into Aldor Acres. Peyton happily bounces off with her mom and brother, and my boys sprint in the opposite direction, eager to continue the adventure.

This local farm is holding a baby animal event and, over the next hour, my boys’ arms are rarely empty. They cradle wee bunnies, stroke fluffy lambs and frolic with about fifty very energetic goats. They are in heaven.

Meanwhile, I am feeling like a complete fraud amongst all these competent-looking parents, patiently herding their broods from stall to stall. They seem like the kind of people who do these Instragram-able activities all the time, and they have the barnyard-chic outfits to prove it. For me, however, driving to this farm and shelling out $24 to step in goat poop is a bright, shiny trophy in my parenting career as of late.

Today is a good day. Weirdly good. I woke up and thought, “I could do something today!”

I can’t remember the last time that happened. It’s been months, for sure. You see, my postpartum depression makes simply existing feel like scaling Everest. So I don’t often add extracurriculars to my day because, well, Everest. But my old self has shown up today, completely out of the blue. And so I pack up my two precious tornadoes, throw some goldfish crackers at them, and proclaim, “We’re going to do something today!”

And we actually did something.

After we had held and petted and snuggled everything with a pulse, we made our way to the exit. I spotted Peyton, and stopped to say how lovely it was to meet her. After a few minutes of surface level chatting with her mom, I blurted out what a big deal today was for me. This simple drive to a farm to hold some baby bunnies was the most memorable thing I had done in months.

The inappropriate overshare was out of my mouth before I could stop it. I could not believe I had just dropped the D-bomb on such a sweet, unassuming stranger.

I was lucky enough to find a kindred spirit in Peyton’s mom. Not only did she lovingly receive my words, D-bomb and all, she shared candidly about her own struggles since birthing her second. And we had a little moment of sisterhood standing in that ordinary field, while my oldest whined for a hot dog. My heart flooded with relief—that deep, soul-settling relief when someone is brave enough to say “You’re not alone.”

That afternoon, as I bleached our shoes, I remembered why I had wanted to go to that farm in the first place. A friend had posted a photo of her son cradling a freshly birthed bunny on Facebook. I kept staring at that photo, thinking of how my littlest would be so over the moon to do that. He has the softest spot for animals. But I didn’t know if I could. I didn’t know if my brain and body would cooperate. And I felt such shame over my lack of control.

Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) has this concept about spoons that I adore. She says most people have an unlimited amount of spoons available to them each day. Each spoon represents a task: getting dressed, taking the kids to school, going to work, doing the dishes. Anyway, they have all the spoons they need and when they wake the next morning, they expect a fresh replenishing. But when you struggle with depression, or any other type of mental illness, you don’t know how many spoons you’re going to get each day. Maybe you get two spoons for the day—so you shower and buy some groceries. Maybe you only get one measly spoon, so the kids get to school but you don’t change out of your pyjamas.

Today, I had a ton of spoons. More spoons than I’ve had in forever. It was such a huge moment for me. But it was also rough, because nobody gets it. It doesn’t look like anything impressive on the outside. It doesn’t look like a promotion or a book deal or preaching an amazing message or potty training a toddler or graduating from college. There’s no plaque on my wall, no accolade to #humblebrag about on Twitter. I just did what most people do without a second thought every single day.

But today a little girl named Peyton and her mom saw me. They saw me and all my spoons and we celebrated amidst the sunshine and the bunnies and the goat poop.

I have no idea what tomorrow will hold. I may not have a single spoon. But today I just so happened to have a lot of them.

I think we made the most of it.