It was one of those warm spring days; the weather outside is perfect, the weather inside a car with no air conditioning is stifling- a stolen glimpse into the coming summer. I met one of my best friends at the park. We hadn’t seen each other in roughly a year; a situation I’ll keep private, both because it is private, and because it isn’t all that flattering to the author. Funny how that works.
We walked the trails through the marsh, doing what we’d always done, sharing victories, frustrations, amusements and outrages. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting her daughter. A perfect, beautiful, healthy six month old baby. The entire afternoon was quiet, gentle, wise and sweet- so much so that it I didn’t realize how incredibly overwhelming it was until I left.
To have her friendship and love in my grasp again, to get some advice, some bras that fit, maternity clothes for the summer, a few other invaluable items. Holding that sweet child in my arms, leaning down to smell her head and realizing that this is why I can’t brush my tongue anymore, that this is my reward for the crying jags, the mouth-watering queasiness, the exhaustion that leaves me limp and sour like a wet dishrag. My gratitude washed over me like a warm tide; tears of joy and relief rolled under my chin and down my neck, and I left them there because the breeze through the car windows on wet skin made the heat a little easier.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the people I love the most, the inner circle of family and friends that are so caring and giving, steadfast as hardy perennials. I thought about how my knot slipped loose with this one, how careless and foolish I’d been, and for what? I’m not entirely sure anymore, but it seemed fairly clear at the time, and here we are, and she’s breathing much-needed light into my life. I hope she got some in return.
My thoughts occasionally drift to other loose knots, some completely undone, like slipped stitches in a blanket. The loss of love pains me, even and perhaps especially when it becomes necessary for my own well-being. But that’s the thing about becoming a mother- it starts with not eating things that don’t smell good to you that moment and evolves into realizing that you’re responsible for teaching a real person how to live and love by example.
I leave for Vegas on Thursday, and I was concerned about feeling well, doing well, and fitting in. Then I remembered who they are, and how much I love this, and how badly I want this baby to understand the capacity for light in the world. So I stopped worrying and started shopping.
I’ve been steadily feeling better since we took that walk in the park. Hearing the faint echo of a heartbeat, and then a loud, clear, strong heartbeat didn’t take my breath away, as I thought it would. It restored my breath and my strength, like a freight train rushing towards me, my feet humming with the pitch of the tracks.
The quality and quantity of people who have, in their own way, walked in the park with me is a wellspring of joy and comfort. I’ve been atrocious about keeping in touch, and even more elusive to see in public, but they march on, inquiring, advising, inviting, and lo, I am blessed.
Pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park, but love ought to be.
May 14, 2012 5 Comments