Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall is sweet melancholy

When the pockets of winter 
                in this dying summer air 
make me at once feel like crying 
and singing.


Monday, July 8, 2013

On meeting a new soul

I’ll never forget that morning.

I watched the sky outside turn from dark to gray to a quiet pink that illuminated every corner of our backyard.  I’d never been patient or alert enough to watch heaven make this transition; completing its daily ritual with a wakeful blue that triggers the hustle and bustle of the day. 

But this morning wasn’t like other mornings. There would be no hustle and bustle for me today; there would be only counting to twenty a thousand times with a thousand prayers of gratitude and pleas for strength in between.  There would be only a strawberry blonde and her dark curly-haired man, working together through each twenty-second count and kissing giddily and nervously when each one was over.  It was the beginning of a 24-hour long journey that would prove both exhausting and exhilarating.  It would end with us meeting our son. 

A thousand more twenty-second counts. A batch of cookies to distract my body. The blue started to fade from the sky when I questioned aloud whether I was capable, burying my head into a future father’s chest and soaking his t-shirt as we swayed back and forth and he whispered words of strength in my ear.  We felt heaven encircle us as the sky became gray again and my curly-haired man said a prayer – a blessing – that assured me in the most simple and beautiful way that my body was strong and prepared.  His words were close and far away at once – my yoga ball had become a raft in a clear and vast sea, bouncing gently as each crystal wave lapped against its sides.

The pink morning was a distant memory as the future father helped me into the car and drove me swiftly and silently through the black stillness of a sleeping town.  More twenty second counts. Four hands helping me out of the car.  A brief exam and whoops of joy as someone said the number “8.”  Counting faster now, struggling to focus and not flee, stepping into a steaming hot bathtub and letting a synergic team take over: a husband, two midwives, a doula, my body, my baby, and God.  My eyes were closed now, almost permanently, but I felt everyone’s indispensible presence with each new ice pack on my forehead, each whispered “I love you,” each soothing pressure point, each beat of a tiny heart, and each strained breath that left my body. 

Time was an illusion – it stood still and sped by and my body took over to do the work Mother Nature has trained it to do over a million years of sacred nights like this one.  I was a distant onlooker – There was a team of support, surrounding and coaching and holding and whispering to and kissing a frightened-looking strawberry blonde as she pushed and screamed and cried and mentally counted to twenty, merely out of habit now. 

And then it was over.  A tiny dark-haired person was placed gently into the strawberry blonde’s arms, and she was back inside her body, no longer an onlooker but a mother now, staring into a pair of wide and alert dusky eyes that stared calmly and curiously back.  I stroked his curly hair and rubbed my fingers across his rosy round cheeks. His smell was intoxicating and his skin was smooth and his features were tiny and perfect.  I could have laid in that now-cold water for hours more, locking eyes with this new person – my son – and telling him in a hoarse whisper a million times that I love him more than life. 

And now we’re a family and sometimes it’s as though I’m not in my own body again, but watching myself from the eyes of a little strawberry blonde girl whose dream of this life has always been too far away to see clearly until now: She watches as a strawberry blonde, grown-up mother puts the tiniest little body against hers to feed while she hums a Lithuanian lullaby. She smiles as the woman hands the tiny person to her grown-up, handsome, dark-haired husband, who begins to rock his son and read the same story aloud that he’s been reading to a growing belly for months now: “How to Train Your Dragon.” She wonders, does that strawberry blonde really have all this?  Does one life deserve this much love and happiness?  Is that person with her two dark-haired boys and dog and backyard really me?

After another late night, the strawberry blonde turns and sees the sky outside unveiling another perfect summer morning. She kisses a smooth, rosy forehead that has finally bobbed to sleep and inhales his fresh baby smell.  Deserving or not, it’s another one of those gifts that can only follow a long dark night.

World, meet Clark.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer son

We walked tonight, the dog and I, while a little person we haven’t met rode along inside.
A distant baseball game and the sound of backyard sprinklers are clearer than ever on this cloudless evening.
And I hum as I stroll and dream about holding his hand – tomorrow? Next week?  Surely, God, no more than that?
And it’s as though my little passenger is reading my mind. A determined hand reaches up, up, pushing against the wall of his small world.
An invisible hand with five tiny fingers – so close yet so frustratingly unkissable just yet.
So for now I playfully push back and swallow some night air
and I wonder if my son can taste it the same way I can -
If he can appreciate the smell of wet wood chips and the freshness of a summer night and the rhythm of a tiny dog yanking eagerly on her leash.
His hand nudges the barrier between us once again, and I stop wondering.

He’s a son of summer, this one.  
July and I will be his first loves.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's time you met me. (a guest post by Buttons Bagley)

I am Buttons.
Let me tell you about myself. 

Some formalities when you come to my house: 
  • I will stand up and hug you.
  • You must pet me behind my ears.
  • I believe we are friends now. Please do sit down so we can snuggle.

Some facts about myself:
  • I am gentle, unless you are a grasshopper or chew toy. Then you must watch out for me.

  • I will still like you after a bath, but please allow me 15 minutes to not be your friend.
  • I will still like you when you put me in my cage. But when you return, can we hug and snuggle? 
  • I know I am not allowed on the bed at night.  This is a rule I choose to ignore.

  • Walks are my favorite activity.
  • If I cannot go for a walk, please do at least open the blinds so I can sit in the windowsill and stare at the cat across the street.

  • I will get embarrassed and walk away if you catch me eating from my bowl.  
  • Belly rubs make me forget all my troubles.

Nice to meet you. I love you. And you and you and you.  Can we please snuggle now? 

P.S. I do not like snow boots. Please watch this video of the saddest winter day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April showers

I’ve never felt so safe
As when we’re lying in bed
While the rain falls on our roof
And the dog sleeps at our feet
And we hold hands
while I drift softly in and out of dreams. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

7 a.m.

He breathes in the day at the same time I do. The new air floating down as the white sun stretches up.
I breathe deeper and he swims, somersaults, to a rhythm of his own making. A long stretch here, a graceful bounce there. 
And I feel his every movement in a way unlike anything I’ve felt before. His dance is part of me, yet already so much his own. 
I whisper a lullaby as the half-light of sunrise penetrates the blinds. My belly ripples in response like a gentle wave at sea.
And together, my son and I, we greet the day and each other before the world wakes up and interrupts.
Energized each 7 a.m. by a sacred morning routine. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spring in my soul and my womb

Even though the trees are still skeletons and a few clumps of dirty snow are still clinging to yellow lawns, I walked outside and breathed in spring today.  I let it envelop and cleanse and massage my soul until I felt so renewed I could climb Provo’s tallest tree.  My baby woke up inside me and I wondered if he felt it too. The new life of spring, flowing through and around me and washing away the bitter sleepiness of winter. 

But for my baby, I realized, it’s always been spring.  He experiences the rush of new life every day; in every moment he rediscovers his nose or feels the gentle pulse of his newly formed heart. He feels spring in each new taste that reaches his tiny tongue, in the slow recognition of our voices and in the rhythmic cadence of a muffled story.  Spring is his ability to somersault and dance in his tiny, fluid world; to feel his new limbs growing and moving and realizing, piece by piece, that he’s him. 

And when he’s born in the heat of summer and he leaves the tiny world where his heart first started beating, it will still be spring.  The feeling of the sunshine on his baby cheeks will be new and perfect; so will the chirp of a bird or the vastness of the sky. There will be two new faces to match the voices he could only hear in the world he left behind.  There will be new tastes and the new sensation of day and night.  It will continue to be spring even into the fall, because every new baby is Spring. Winter is something that only happens when we stop discovering. 

Spring has lived inside me since the long winter outside my window began, but I failed to recognize it until today. I failed to tap into the wisdom of an unborn baby. 

Tomorrow it may snow.  But I’m going to keep breathing in spring.