Reading: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Listening to: "Just Like Fire" by P!nk
Outside: Low gray sky, a first breath of sweet wind
Holding my newborn daughter, I got it. I got the love the guts you, the sense of responsibility that narrows the world to a pair of needy eyes.
- Michelle McNamara, I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
If you're reading this, life has continued.
We're here again, sidestepping leaves as they dance across our path. Ordering Christmas presents in an unheard-of frenzy, desperate for those bicycles and Paw Patrol toys currently locked in the holds of ships docked and still. We are hoping Santa gets those precious presents to us in time. Our soft miracles await them.
We're admiring the glistening ghosts of sun-caught spiderwebs in the porch corners. We're taking our children to school. We're masking up to walk into Aldi, bleaching handles and counter tops. We're hanging Halloween decorations, we're mixing up bowls of individually-wrapped treats. Stocking the sanitizing gel.
We're dusting off the costumes, blowing off the cobwebs layered over our seasonal thrill, that secret sweetness of pre-midnight moonlight, the giddy tap of little soles on pavement. Our campfire kindling piled on to crackle and flare. Dormant emotion stirring again. We're getting ready.
I close my front door, my Twig Owl Wreath watching as I turn the key in the lock. Tiny cute scarecrows grin and follow my progress down the front path. I'm almost twenty pounds lighter, and much less-haired, than I was this time last year. I have given my daughter - lithe and no longer guileless in her approach to age eight - to her teachers for the day, so they can measure her knowledge and encourage her love of learning. I have given my baby - no longer the needled-and-bruised newborn newly-released from emergency surgery, but rather the attentive and confident one-year-old eager for a new changing table escape route - to his grandparents for the day, so they can dote and inspire.
I am back at work, after one year of maternity leave. The hardest year of my life. New Mom Blues. Old Mom Blues. Pandemic Blues. All the Blues. I check the laces on my Nikes and lean against the beige brick side of my house, stretching my calves. I count to twenty - one of thousands of times I've counted to that number - then switch feet, count again. I'm ready.
I enter the path next to the road, no pontail, no baby weight. I walk for a little and then step it up, pacing the runner I was since I was 16 and joined the MV High School track team. I'm toning my body, and my mind, which still crawls with the last weakened tendrils of post-natal depression, or regular depression, or just plain sleeplessness. Today I am not the person I was yesterday, or the person I was for the past long year. I have slept. The serotonin is good. It fizzes and makes colours bright again, makes the ground velvet, makes me weightless. I am who I used to be. Who I'm supposed to be.
I wave at the neighbors across the road, across driveways, faces become familiar through my dark year - people who watched my journey through pregnancy, through baby-in-the-womb to baby-in-a-pram. These who have watched me change. Their dogs smiling at me at the end of leashes or behind fences: Tilly, Betsy, Charlie, Bailey, Alfie. I am thankful for their owners' "Good Mornings," for their homes so close to the red-capped sycamore trees, for their quiet, private cul-de-sacs. I move faster today than I ever have.
Back at home, I let myself back in the house, an echoing shell without my children. I will occupy myself with Lena's 8th birthday preparations; I will have a delicious lunch. I will stop whatever I'm doing and notice the golden autumn sunlight when it blankets the playhouse in the back yard. I will not obsessively vacuum; I will not clean. Today is enough. Today is coffee and candle light. Today is photograph-touching and baby-home-video watching. I will note the progress of my life - my babies' first squawking baths in the dishwashing tub, Lena's memorization of the entire P.P.A.P. song, Indiana's choosing of the same bedtime book every night; I will shed my broken skin. I will rejoice in the recharge.
In the mirror, I'm bluer-eyed than before.
May your day be everything you need it to be. If you are struggling, for any reason, please tell someone.
There's a whole world out there waiting for you, and it is far, far too beautiful to waste.
|Grandad and Lena at Mam Tor, |
August 28, 2021
Happy Tuesday, everyone.
Wishing everyone a safe and Blessed Samhain.