francis arrived in our arms just before my own birthday, thirty years on, and this christmas season floods me with honey-sweet symmetry. i see this truth bloom again and again: the more of myself i give to my motherhood and my marriage, the more myself i become. and so it goes with christmas: i observe my baby moving about this season, in much the size, in much the way, i would have my own first christmas, exploring and learning and delighting, and i am whispered secrets of myself, my babyhood, where i have been, what i did while i was there.
so many lives in a single lifetime.
time has a way of taking our earliest memories and shifting them, settling them, inearthing them into the deepest parts of us. and how incredible, to walk forward, to build a life -- a world -- a home -- a family, and yet, in a single blink, be carried back-back-back on the swift wings of something impossibly familiar: smell of cinnamon and pine. smell of something spiced i know but cannot name. a recipe. a spool of ribbon, unfurling. the snip of scissors, the weight of them in my hand. a bow, velvet and bright. a magnolia. a song. fudge, wrapped in paper, tucked in tin.
and here, now, fast forward, forward-too-fast: a boy who crows "ho ho ho" and drums with gusto in a rose red union suit with buttons on the bum. his palms bloom skyward to be the ones to carry the roses. the little prince by tree light. hebrew love songs. big sweaters and a bare face. lights like stars, and maybe they are. church bells trilling on west end avenue. the romance of maldon sea salt waiting on the counter. the love song of papa's keys jingling in the door. after-nap cuddles, long and slow, to a tempo of soft cotton and sweet milk and soul-deep sighs of "mama." juniper lattes. fir forests. felted baubles -- a lighthouse, a dove, a lemon drop fairy. still-gummy, but not for long, kisses. an explorer, by fours or by belly, every pine needle or velvet ribbon a world to be discovered, a curious thumb leading the way. sleepy mornings and sticky buns and sufjan's christmas on repeat. a baby on my hip. how he sings my name in his dreams. how bright he makes my every hour.
how many ways to close our eyes and travel. how many ways to see how incredibly time can move. how many ways to feel it: "home." how many ways to say it: "love."
memory: a favorite magic of mine.