Over rivers and valleys, mountains and plains
Over all you have lost and all your have gained
Over all you have gathered and all you let go
You have traveled at length through the wild unknowns
And through all that is changing you can see you have grown
You have walked in the light, you have not been alone
-Morgan Harper Nicholas
Marion has managed to blend into our family with such ease, it’s hard remembering life without a daughter–that not so long ago, she was still just a star, waiting to be brought home to us.
Each day gets a little better; Chris and I get more sleep, my routine takes a sharper shape, and I understand Marion’s needs with more ease.
Everett has adjusted well to having a sister. I’ll catch him giving her kisses when she’s in her swing, or he will run over and gently plug her mouth with a binky if she’s crying. And on our beloved Trader Joe’s trips, he still says “hi” to everyone, but now makes sure to also introduce his new friend, as he points to Marion and repeats, “Baby, baby, baby!”
I’m the one who had a strange time adjusting to two.
When I got home from the hospital, my first priority was to put Everett down for bed. With so much about to change, I needed him to know that our routine was going to stay the same.
Sore, tired and postpartum bleeding into an adult diaper, I gently crawled into his big boy bed and laid beside him, just as I always had before. All I could do was cry though, because suddenly, it felt so different, like I was having a strange and silent affair within my heart for Marion. He was no longer my only baby, and the sudden transition made me feel scared, dropped in a place I’d never been before.
Seeing me cry, despite efforts to hide my tears, Everett took his blanket and willingly wiped my eyes. His ability for compassion and the soft sweetness that comprises his personality entirely, makes me so incredibly proud: in one of my most vulnerable moments as a mother, my son held me and just the feeling of him, assured me everything would eventually be okay.
As Grandma has joked before, you don’t grow an extra set of hands when you have another baby. And as I’ve realized, nor do you grow another brain or heart–you just simply make more room, dividing up the attention and love.
And I haven’t forgotten to keep some space for myself.
Learning how to be selfish was a milestone within my motherhood, which even the word alone sounds scary as a mom, because daring to take care of your needs before exhausting all energy on your children, must mean you don’t love them enough.
The absolute opposite is true though.
I’ve already said something similar to you before, but when my needs are met, I’m able to take better care of my babies–when I’m replenished and full, I am capable of watering my flowers and guiding their growth.
It seems simple enough, but with Everett, why was it so hard to make it to the shower? Why was it so hard to leave the house alone and without guilt?
Because I started off motherhood thinking that sacrfice was what I was supposed to do–that sacrifice meant I loved Everett most. But I don’t want my kids (however many I end up having) to represent what I gave up for them. They will be my life’s work, there’s no doubt about that, but I will not lose myself in the process.
Jessie got married two weeks ago in Maryland. It was the event I’ve been anticipating since January, and the day truly unfolded with ease and perfection for my most deserving friend.
Everett was left at home with Allison; we only brought the baby and treated the weekend as a short getaway from our toddler and the routines of home.
For the entire wedding night, I wore Marion in the moby wrap, which sadly covered from my waist up, the beautiful Anthropologie jumpsuit I treated myself to for the big day. But she slept like a cacooned caterpillar and never cried. The only sound she made was a little burp when Jessie and Justin were exchanging their vows.
Seeing your best friend marry the right man is a wonderful feeling. I can now know and trust that the things she dreams of, are secure for her taking–like babies. And while on the dance floor, with a drink in one hand and a stand-by binky in the other, I felt alive and accomplished and an accumulated version of the mother I have always wanted to be.
People would come up and gently shout over the music and into my ear, “I want to be a mom like you when I have kids!” And something within me pridefully swelled with each drunken comment, as if I was somehow an example to my friends and the friends of strangers, that you can still keep yourself when you have a child.
At my six week check-up, there were several other new mothers in the waiting room, all of which had their own moms with them for help and those extra set of hands. I was obviously the only one alone.
At Everett’s first appointment, I would’ve cried seeing those other mothers, thinking that I was permanetly crippled and incapable because I wouldn’t have your help or guidance or support. But this time around, I felt like a straight boss.
During my exam, Everett was occupied in his stroller, eating a packed mini pizza, and I had Marion wrapped to me in her moby, while I laid on my back and got my vagina checked and cleared. The whole scenario caught me affirming in my mind over and over: I am an awesome mother.
Because its not a bad thing to love yourself. And constantly reminding our minds to tell us good things is our strongest super power.
The way we speak to ourselves matters–it’s just a point of making positive talk a habit and having the audacity to believe the things you tell yourself. For so long, I was scared to mentally affirm I was beautiful because what if I really wasn’t? What if no one else believed I was? But that truth is up to no one but me. And whether or not I believe I’m a good mom is up to no one but me.
I wrote a pretend check last year for a certain amount of money, printing “fall 2018” on its front, and on the signature line, “for house and property.” I playfully imagined the cash coming from a book deal.
When Chris and I began looking at land this past summer, I’d see 2:17 on the clock, on a regular basis. I couldn’t understand what it meant for weeks, until I realized that the “pretend” check’s referencing number was 217. So from then on, I truly believed this money was coming one way or another. I truly believed the land was coming, just not in the way that it all recently came to be.
A few months before Marion was born, we found another wooded lot for sale. It’s almost five acres and on top of a hill, two critera that met my desires with perfection. Each time we visited the land, I could picture where our house would be. I pictured Clifford laying on our porch and the way I’d call the kids in for dinner after they’d been playing outside and under the trees.
The property will be ready to purchase in spring 2019. When we first started flirting with the idea of buying land, we figured out all the ways to scrape together our current home’s equity, our savings, and another loan.
But now we are in the financial position to acutally do this–both the land and the house, because Chris just got a new job.
He secured an interview in New York City for Amazon Web Services. I was surprised, because we’ve been comfortable financially and he loves his current job at Carnegie Mellon.
For two weeks, he was absent from himself, preparing for the infamously challenging interview, and I knew I just had to pull up my big girl pants and leave him be, allowing Chris to do what he does when he knows there’s a job to be done.
One day after the interview, he was offered a position, and because of his constant desire to move forward with his work and the ability to provide, that vision check is real. Our land is real. Our house is real. Our dreams are real.
Literally, everything has come together, just as I told myself it would.
Now all that’s left (for now), is this book. Which, coincidentally, I’m going to publish through Amazon. I don’t know what will happen once its complete and real and ready to be purchased. Naturally, I fear it will get lost in a sea of online novels, but I must believe that the good ol’ Universe or God or Spirit in the Sky, will take care of the details and allow this work to become all I know it can be.
I know this is the last entry, and suddenly it seems natural and right to allow our ending. Everything just feels complete, a realization that came the moment Chris corrected himself in the delivery room and said Marion was a girl, like she was my ultimate proof of something I still don’t fully understand.
Now that I have a daughter, I can only hope she will one day love me as much as I love you. That when I travel onward, she will think of me as often as I think of you, and she’ll carry within and throughout her, every ounce of my spirit, as she constantly holds me both in her mind and heart.
Because that is what I do with you.
And I hope to teach her, through my example, how to be her own mothering sun–how to nourish both herself in her own becomings, as well as her kindred flowers.
Because that is what you did for me.