23 May 2018
it is a softness. like a feather. like a nest. (his nest, forevermore.) a slow and sappy love song of ethereal days, sleepy eyes, milk-stained shirts, half-formed thoughts, sentences that trail.
i gave birth; i was given life.
(nothing, nothing, could prepare me for eyes that seek mine and sweet, dewy breath, him, drunk on milk, me, drunk on him.)
a softness: all at once (i contain multitudes), i am becoming acquainted with my body, since, and i recognize her, because. she is both softer and stronger, transformed from knitting cells, and again from birthing a soul, and still more from nourishing life.
(i am being transformed.)
how can i not stand in awe of this body, so capable, so unbelievable? how can i feel anything but gratitude for what she has given me (everything)? for what she gives him, every day?
remember: we have bodies. we are souls.
(my body, the only home he has ever known.)
(linea nigra. come and go. before and after. like the tail of a star. like a map of places we've been.)
22 May 2018
it's a dream that arrived on the wings of an afternoon some months ago now, the deep summer air sticky and sweet:
my four month belly curved like a soup spoon and our beloved treehouse suddenly felt small. we needed a place for a baby, for a family, to grow. and so we combed listings, volleying them back and forth, day after day. how about this one?
we made arrangements to tour a bright apartment four flights up in a victorian townhouse. the realtor canceled last minute but offered for us to let ourselves in. we wandered the rooms and we opened closet doors and we found ourselves bewitched by patterned floor tiles and original wooden shutters and trim. when i came to the bedroom, i was hooked in the doorway, eyes cast upward, half expecting peter to come to the window. i could see it all before me: story hours by the open window, peering at each other in the morning light, water towers sentineled on rooftops in plain view, the boy of my dreams now a dream in my arms.
and here we are in spring, our first with each other in this way, and this is how mornings usually happen: we spend them in bed, just the two of us, nursing and napping, foam-topped coffee on the nightstand, agnes obel on piano keys, rain on the sill. francis gazes out the window as i read to him and i wonder what he is thinking of. maybe someday he will tell me.
21 May 2018
four months is strong and soft and chubby, all pink cheeks and dimpled hands and chins that roll like the waves of the sea. it is cozying into the cove of mama's neck and coming in for gummy, open mouthed kisses. it furrowing a brow over curious eyes and swiveling a neck back and forth to smile at strangers and see more and more and more. it is gazing at hands for whole stretches of time and gathering fistfuls of mama's shirt and holding on tight. it is mornings in bed, just the two of us, reading to the lighthouse and looking beyond the window and listening to the songs of birds of spring. it is a cocked eyebrow and a soul that is soothed by edelweiss and clair de lune. it is a button nose and dreaming under trees and relaxing into bathwater with a sigh and walking with papa, just the two of them, in the earliest hours of saturdays. it is eyes shining with papa's twinkle and a spirit bursting with mama's will. it is blowing bubbles and licking the wind and finding peace and calm and sleep pressed to mama's heartbeat in just the way we were perfectly, beautifully, shaped to fit. it is a high trill and deep belly laughs and conversations with angels and god and people i myself cannot see. it is cerulean eyes and lashes of spun gold and a smile that will undo me all the rest of my days. it is breath forever caught in my heart-stilled chest.
15 May 2018
just last week, chris had to be in newport for a meeting, so francis and i hopped in the car right alongside him. we took bub on his first road trip when he was thirteen days old and this we know, as sure as the sun does rise: francis brown loves going for a ride.
it was a quiet stretch of hours, not even thirty six of them, just being together and finding adventure. we hunted buttery lobster rolls and del's frozen lemonade in paper cups. we drove around looking at houses and we looked for a lighthouse we never did find. we took slow breaths by the sea as moody waves swallowed the rocky beach whole.
i love few things more than a chilly day spent seaside, pulling a too-big sweater tight around me as the sun warms my face. loop my fingers through my husband's and hand me my baby boy, and it's more than i could dream.
14 May 2018
we walked for sweet crepes and a fistful of pink peonies that i arranged in a white pitcher. the weather was cold and rain, such is the stuff of new york in may, and we were in our cozies by three in the afternoon. words from my husband filled a page and small, dimpled hands mapped the cosmos of my face. and i was a mother on mother's day.
i always felt myself to be a mother, in the truest of ways. and so what a gift, this year, to be on this side of things. what a gift, to have arms full of my very own baby. what a gift, to receive counsel and inspiration and strength from the women i am walking alongside. what a gift, to have a husband who approaches fatherhood in the same way that he approaches marriage: work and play and so much joy. so. much. joy.
this is not lost on me. this will never be lost on me.
there is not language that allows for what my motherhood means to me. there is only the warmth of coffee my husband hands to me in the hour just before morning and my baby's dewy sighs into my neck as i rock him by the light of the moon on wood floors that creak under the weight of my love for him. there is only the memory of a time when this version of my life felt so far away, so unlikely, so impossible. there is only the feel of hot tears falling to the thought that everything, everything, that ever happened, or didn't, added up to him. there is only the sound of amazement, carried on my own deep and thankful breath.
10 May 2018
central park has left me speechless these passing weeks, every tree bursting to bloom and begging for a picnic. i believe it my sacred privilege to help my boy discover the curiosities of nature, and this particular morn, i was moved to lay him under the cherry blossoms and let him explore them in a way that is all his own. a tilted head, a lengthened gaze, legs kicking outward, arms reaching upward, a symphony of spring birds, a mama's hum, toes ever so lightly kissing the earth.
i like to think that this is his first memory.
05 May 2018
it's saturday morning and i am writing this from the creaky wooden chair by the window while all the neighborhood yawns its way into the day. i am listening to the national's album from 2003 because i like the memories it wraps me in and i am diffusing jasmine oil because it reminds me of south carolina. my boys are napping in the bedroom and we have plans to go to brooklyn today, but we are in no hurry to get there or anywhere else. here, now, is something sacred.
since becoming a mother, the way i spend time has deeply shifted. i am more discerning, and when a moment is good, i am happy to climb inside and stay a long, long while. i cling only to what is important, truly necessary, to our happiness and our wholeness.
everything is more layered than it used to be, and everything is simpler than it used to be. both of these things are true.
what little my soul knew before this tiny, beautiful boy.
in his short three months, he has changed us. he has become our teacher. he has taught us to slow down — i mean really slow down — and breathe. he softens us. he wakes with a smile and he moves through the world gently and contentedly. he is happy to be here.
i am learning so much about love and living deliberately from someone whose time on earth is measured in weeks. isn't that something? isn't that everything?
other things i have learned so far, since becoming a mother:
when he is having a hard time, put him in water. it soothes him every time.
a baby is a whole person. he's got all the emotions and feelings of anyone else.
lean into his cues and let them be enough. ignore the commentary.
make a song of it. i sing all day over here.
keep a space for myself. beside our rocking chair sits an antique school desk we found at a garage sale last spring for $5. atop it sits a lamp with soft lighting, our oil diffuser, a row of poetry books i have been reading to francis since i first learned of him last summer, an assortment of journals i am keeping, a milk bottle of fresh flowers, and a posy of letters written to me by my tribe with inscriptions such as "to the new mama" and "mama bird." this corner is a haven to me. i can see it from where i nurse, and not a day passes where i don't feel uplifted by all it contains. it is a soft landing. it is a living, breathing encouragement to me as a mother, as a woman.
write upon my heart. i want to write it all down. i want to capture everything, everything, and articulate just how much this motherhood means to me. i want to write about how special our boy is and the way i ache for him the rare moments when he is not in my arms and the physical way i experience happiness when his eyes find mine and the way he sucks in his bottom lip. i want to write about my husband's exquisite fatherhood and how francis reaches for my hand at the exact moment i reach for his and how i thought i knew happiness and then francis smiled. but in uncountable ways, i quite literally struggle to marry words into sentences. i put my pen to paper, and it feels insufficient. and i am learning that it is enough to be blissfully, entirely, enveloped in exactly where i am. it is enough to press petals between pages and to scribble down fragments (your first walk amongst the cherry blossoms, central park) as they pierce me. it is enough to tuck away my camera and close my eyes and trust my soul to imprint. it is enough to be aware, if only in my heart, of these moments as they ripple through me and turn to memories.
04 May 2018
the blossoms and magnolias and tulips and daffodils have bloomed, and so has just about everything else in central park. with held breath i await roses, but i am happy to be patient for now.
we're experiencing our second season with our little love. he came to us in midwinter and now it's midspring and all the world feels brand new as we meet it all for the first time through his eyes. blooming poppies and the ripe moon and songbirds nesting away, making their own version of family. this thoughtful, curious boy inspires us to walk slower and pause often and spend time just noticing the little things, pointing out the everythings.