Everett is walking now! He hasn’t completely committed to two feet, but he’s been successfully taking steps and strides across the room. I’d say in a month, he’ll be running around the yard, chasing after Clifford.
Everyone keeps saying, “Good luck once he’s walking!” but I’m glad he’s so close. I honestly cannot carry him everywhere anymore. My back is riddled with knots from heaving around my cute twenty seven pound ball of chunk.
We’ve been playing outside on our porch a lot. Chris just painted the wood floor, and we purchased an outdoor table–I even bought a special candle for it that I still have yet to light. Maybe tonight we’ll eat dinner out there, call it a romantic date. We’re having pork and ceasar salad, tossed with Fodder’s dressing recipe. I love making it and thinking of your Dad, the two of you together, wherever you are now.
Now that Everett’s getting older–thirteen months as of two days ago–I’m having more and more fun with him. Every time he learns something new or makes a new face or tries a new sound, it’s exciting. I know and understand why Mothers get upset thinking of their babies growing up, but they’re supposed to evolve forward. For some reason, Everett growing just makes me proud, not sad. If he was my last, I think I’d feel differently, but the plan is that there will be several more children to follow…eventually.
I always used to say I wanted four kids. If someone asked me, I’d say “four,” without question or hesitation. And that was probably because you had four and I wanted to do everything just like you did.
But when Everett was a newborn, I remember complaining on the phone with Aunt Sara, saying I wasn’t cut out to stay at home with babies and kids. I felt like two children would be plenty, which felt frightening because my whole “plan” was being rocked off its center. I questioned who I was supposed to be, if not a Mother with no career outside of her home and beyond her children.
As I sit here a year later, I’m confident I want a lot of kids again. Everett’s “fun” stage is making it easier and easier to look forward to another pregnancy and baby. Grandma has told me before that you never liked the newborn phase–you enjoyed when you were able to talk and play with your kids. I always feel so much relief hearing that, like thank god I’m not the only one. But who knows, maybe the second time around will be different and I’ll adore the months of no sleep and being clueless.
Anyways. Yesterday, Everett and I spent the day out at Nana’s house. She took us to a local greenhouse and we picked out perennials. She bought me a lavender plant and another little one called a “creeping jenny.” I had to have it because of my middle name, and it’s now snuggled in the spring dirt outside my house, ready to creep, I guess.
We then went to Home Goods and shopped for crap we didn’t need, but I enjoyed browsing the store while Everett chilled in the cart, snacking on crackers and making eye contact with everyone who passed–he loves going places, observing and interacting.
When we returned home, Chris was already here and able to watch Everett while I went to yoga. I was so grateful to go–I hadn’t practiced for two weeks. I don’t know how or why I allowed that much time to come between me and my mat, but sometimes, life just happens.
When I walked into the studio, there were lily of the valley flowers on the desk, in a little dixie cup. I’ve been seeing them a lot lately, and of course, they make me think of you–they’re your flower.
Right now is the only time of the year that their little white bells are in bloom and they seem to be abundantly everywhere: a patch of them grow below a stop sign in my neighborhood; I found a wild bunch the other day on a walk, picking just one flower and taking it home with me; Nana gave me one from her garden with the roots still attached, in hopes that it will grow successfully in my yard; I passed a lady on the street today carrying some in a tiny bouquet.
I know they’re just a flower, but on my drive to yoga last night, I asked you if you’d be there in class with me…I asked for some kind of connection, some kind of awareness of your presence. Because sometimes, during the end in final relaxation, when we lay on our backs and both my mind and body are still, I feel you. I swear to god sometimes I even hear you, like this flowing voice coming through me, without hesitation or pause and you completely fill me up.
When I saw those lilies on the desk, I immediately “heard” you say, Now how much more obvious do I have to be?
Someone reading this will think it’s all my mind tricking me into thinking I can feel you or that you’re “with” me, but it’s not. I’m not gullible. I’m not naive. I’m not entirely faithless. I know it was you.
I ration it this way: If my body could conceive and grow and birth a human, why is it so hard to believe that on some level, I can connect with your energy?
Before becoming a Mother, I had limits as to what I believed to be possible. If I thought I felt you in yoga after seventy five minutes of moving meditation, I would dismiss it and think, that’s just my brain trying desperately to believe you were real for a moment.
But my child is the perfect proof I’ve always needed to have a little more faith in the unknown–to have a little more trust in what I feel, rather than in what I read in books, in what other people tell me, or in what I’ve always been taught.
I look at Everett and still cannot comprehend that he was once never here. I cannot understand how he started as a little wiggly tadpole in my stomach, who grew to full baby size and then came out and literally through me, into this world. I have no words for it, but he’s simply my evidence of an unexplained miracle. Sure there’s science behind conception and birth but come on, really–how does that all happen and evolve and come to be?
So I know you and I can reach each other. And it’s usually only in yoga, only after Dominique’s class. She was my original teacher, the one I learned the bulk of my practice from. And I just called her on the phone now–she’s the one who put those lilies on the studio’s desk, picked fresh from her front yard.
I wrote the following entry in my journal a few months ago, but was “afraid” to share it with you because I thought I sounded crazy. But I’m not afraid anymore, and I don’t think I was crazy.
March 13, 2017
I went to Dominique’s class last night. At the end, I laid on my back with my arms draped up and over my head, physically exhausted. My eyes were closed, my mind was off, my entire body was limp and there wasn’t an ounce of energy left inside of me.
I was all love and nothing negative or sad could puncture the balloon of bliss I was in. It was incredible. And I started remembering myself as a little girl, sitting on the coffee table at the old house while watching The Lion King. Mom was sweeping the white carpet, the extra cord wrapped around her forearm.
In the movie, Simba had just found his Dad after the stampede, and as I lifted my legs for Mom to run the sweeper under, I looked up at her, trying to imagine what would ever happen to me if she died, like Simba’s Dad had. Somehow in that one small moment as a six year old child, I knew I’d lose her one day. I just knew, and didn’t question it.
And I felt all this all over again in real time, as I laid there in that yoga room. I was feeling that knowing, but this time it felt good–it felt understood. Everything came full circle.
I found a new kind of peace, full of a welcoming acceptance towards Mom’s death. It no longer felt like me or Dad or the kids were cheated by her loss. It no longer felt like she was cheated. It just felt like she was all through me, without an ounce of separation, and I realized that “losing” Mom was just a part of our lives being intertwined together. I still chose her to be my Mother, even though she’d have to “leave” me someday. And I’d still choose her over and over again.
Somehow, on some level, I’ve always known Mom would physically leave and I know this because of the way I felt in that class.
May this entry be my reminder the next time I ever doubt why she left or where she is.
I know I sound strange. And I can’t put everything into perfectly explained words for it all to make sense, but whatever happened to me in that yoga class was incredible. I know in my heart that it was real. If I’m crazy, so be it–at least I feel closer to you than ever in my life…at least I feel like I finally somewhat understand your death.
I’m sure there are some people who read my words and think I haven’t healed or moved on since you died. Because even after all this time, I still talk about your death so much and about missing you, and wondering where you are. Maybe a few people even worry if I’m doing “okay.” And I get it, I understand their possible concern.
But since Everett came into my life, I’ve managed to miss you and need you in an entire different capacity, for entire different reasons than before becoming a Mother. What kind of daughter would I be if I just accepted your death one way and one way only, never to think or ponder or question or strive to find more answers that continually bring peace to my heart? I may never stop all the wondering, all the searching for you. But I don’t care, because I’ve learned so much along the way, not only about you, but myself.
Losing you has shaped me into a relatively spiritual being. Losing you has proven my faith in the unknown. Losing you has given me some sort of magic to hold on to–a constant awareness of your boundless presence.
Yoga has helped me find you again in some way, but it’s only in those moments of calm and surrendering and letting everything just be that you come through to me. So I’d like to get myself in that state as much as possible–it’s where amazing things happen. And since I know I can’t make it to the studio every night, maybe starting a little meditation practice of my own, along with a new morning affirmation prayer, is a start.
It will be hard to hold myself accountable, but I think I deserve ten or fifteen minutes at some point in the day, to sit, breathe, create intentions and be thankful for all the beauty in my life. And maybe…just maybe, feel you there with me, too.