yours is the light by which my spirit’s born:
yours is the darkness of my soul’s return
-you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars
The third trimester has officially begun.
I’ve reasoned that with the time remaining, there are only twelve more Monday mornings for Everett and I to go Trader Joe’s, as just the two of us.
I don’t know what it is about the grocery store, but we both love going. I enjoy meal planning and then the crossing out of items on my list, while I gather ingredients and snacks and the $3.99 fresh-cut bundled flowers that brighten my bedroom each week.
Everett happily sits in the cart and says hi to a few of the workers that he recognizes from being a frequent shopper. Sometimes I’ll pack him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat while we stroll around the store, or he’ll eat a banana and an oatmeal bar right off the shelf.
And when we pay for the empty wrapper and peel at checkout, he tries handing each item to the cashier, saying, “Here ya go!” in a too loud of tone, but it’s annoyingly cute.
I imagine simple errands will soon become more of a hassle and involve an increased amount of frustration with another child…I imagine a lot of things are going to change with this second addition. But the becoming part is over now–I am already a mother, and Chris is already a father.
For those reasons, I feel both thankful and prepared as I possibly could be.
Tatum finds it funny that Chris was once just a dude in high school, who wore flat baseball caps and thought it was cool having initials tattooed to his arm. When she giggles and says, He’s just such a Dad now! I feel proud, because even someone as young as her, can so obviously tell how much he loves being Everett’s father.
It seems he and I have really found the true purpose within our marriage– being parents. While raising our son together, we’ve unintentionally sifted into the best version of ourselves.
The two of us often casually talk about whether or not to wait in between the next (two) kids. He teased me the other day and said, “Do you really think you want four of these?” while pointing at Everett, who was screaming on the floor in a bedtime protest.
I told him we are too good of parents not to have that many. And added, “You know that the family we form is all we’ll really have.”
Because he and I both know what it’s like to have a mother whose sick. We both know the changes it creates within a family; how vacations become scarce and then disappear, how dinners out together become rare, and how each member handles grief and acceptance in varying ways.
You were our family’s sun. We all orbited around you, like little planets that had their own individual needs and characteristics, thriving off your warmth and light and directional pull.
When we lost the center to this virtual solar system, we stopped circling in the same direction and began again on different planes.
Dad’s took him somewhere far away, where parts of him I think were forever lost. I fought blindly to get back to you. Allison and Cole both traveled forward in a kind of silence. And Tatum, being the youngest, was frozen in space, only held up by the gravity of others who loved her.
But I am now that contagious light for Chris, Everett, this baby, and all our children yet to be.
That’s why I want such a big family. That’s why four kids sounds right when my husband and I talk about it. It’s not because you had that many. It’s because I want my light to provide all the life and nourishment and guidance that it possibly can.
It’s because becoming my own “mother sun,” is what ultimately allowed me to heal after your death. But I’m still scared to completely be my own light and stray from yours, daring to be different than the woman I looked up to since I came into this world.
Chris and I recently came very close to purchasing some land. That sounds like an incredibly strange statement, because I always believed that finding and financing property was years and years away, but it almost happened.
A few Saturday nights ago, we were on the couch eating our usual Thai takeout, watching a rented movie. During a quick break to wash my face and ritually light the bathroom candles, Chris had scrolled through his phone and found a new property listing online. We were intrigued by the price and location, but unable to tell what it really looked like through the realtor’s pictures.
Immediately filling with excitement, we agreed to go see it. It was past 8 p.m. and Everett was already hours into his night sleep, but we woke him up, brought him and his blankets and the dog to the car, and made the drive to the property.
Everett followed the moon for the entire car ride. He’d point when it would pop through the clouds and say uh-oh when it disappeared again.
The land was mostly on a slope, had a small leveled part, and then went uphill again. We quickly figured out that that’s why it was priced low. From Google maps, it was shaped like a long and narrow, steep rectangle.
But we went back the next day, because by then it was getting too dark and too late to try and hike the hills. Chris wore Everett in the backpack, and together, we walked the whole way to the top, curious to see what was at the hill’s peak.
It turns out there was a flat wooded acre, sitting at one of the highest points in the town we both grew up in. And the entire background of this property was a nature reserve, a place for our planned clan of children to thrive, where no one else could ever build.
I felt incredible up there. And so did Chris. You couldn’t hear the far away road, just the birds and the wind and whatever sound describes that kind of natural quiet.
So we contacted a realtor. We contacted the water authority. We contacted a plumber. We contacted the local building inspector. We figured out ways we could finance and what was involved for payment on land.
It wasn’t a straight forward picture, since where we’d ideally build a house (in future years to come) was all the way at the top of two hills. Water would need pumped up there, we’d need a sewage system, and have to swallow the cost of propane for our power source.
But still, we continued to visit the land, bringing Everett each time, who would touch the bark on trees we passed, or spy butterflies flying around the wild flowers. We’d measure and plot and explore. I’d look at my vision board each night, amazed at how closely I could picture the house I’ve envisioned for so long, sitting on that land.
Before making an offer, we needed to figure out how to get a driveway uphill. We had a local guy come look at the land, and he basically scoffed, saying it was impossible. Then we had an excavating company do the same thing. And finally, just to be sure, we had an engineer do the math, calculating the legal slope limit and how many curves would be required to make it to the flat acre on top.
Again, it was another no. This man at least said it could be done, but Chris and I obviously don’t want a scary and dangerous driveway attached to our forever home.
While I feel disappointed, I’m holding onto the feeling of that land. The way we felt up there, the way we felt when we talked about it through last week’s dinner conversations–it tells me something was special. Something connected, and even though that may not be the place we end up settling on, it opened our eyes to the fact that our dreams of owning land may not be as far off as we think.
And I know it made Chris equally excited about having a large family, where we’d be secluded on our own little homestead.
I feel relaxed about it. I honestly trust that our plot is out there, waiting for us. I know as confidently as I can, that the Universe will provide it, without the need for worry or rushing.
This is probably how I’m supposed to feel about all of my desires–how we’re all supposed to feel about the things we want in life.
Everything is always where it should be, if we simply trust this simple reasoning.
The moth and the fishes are in their place,
The suns I see and the suns I cannot see, are all in their place,
The palpable is in its place and the impalpable is in its place.
For reasons I’ll never understand yet truly trust, you are in your proper place, too, even if I can’t kiss you or hug you or hear the voice I’ve known since safely inhabiting your womb.
And even if you’ve become what Walt Whitman would describe as impalpable: unable to be felt by touch, not easily comprehended, incapable of being perceived by the senses, you are still in your place.
If I continually accept that what’s gone is only the physical part of you, I’m free.
You are much more than skin, bone and heart. You are my mothering sun.