Saturday, April 20, 2013

On The Day You Were Born

by Debra Frasier

"On the eve of your birth
word of your coming 
passed from animal to animal.  

The reindeer told the Arctic terns,
who told the humpback whales,
who told the Pacific salmon,

who told the monarch butterflies,
who told the green turtles,
who told the European eel,
who told the busy garden warblers,

and the marvelous news migrated worldwide. 

While you waited in darkness, 
tiny knees curled to chin,
the Earth and her creatures
with the sun and the moon
all moved in their places, 
each ready to greet you
the very first moment
of the very first day you arrived.

On the day you were born
the round planet Earth
turned toward your morning sky,
whirling past darkness,
spinning the night into light.

On the day you were born

gravity's strong pull
held you to the Earth
with a promise that you
would never float away...

...while deep in space 
the burning sun
sent up
towering flames,
lighting your sky
from dawn until dusk.

On the day you were born
the quiet moon glowed
and offered to bring
a full, bright face,
each month,
to your windowsill...

...while high above the North Pole,
Polaris, the glittering North Star,
stood still, shining silver light
into your night sky.

On the day you were born
the moon pulled
on the ocean below,
and wave by wave,
a rising tide washed
the beaches clean for your footprints...

...while far out at sea
clouds swelled with water drops,
sailed to shore on a wind,
and rained you a welcome
across the Earth's green lands.

On the day you were born
a forest of tall trees
collected the sun's light
in their leaves,
where, in silent mystery,
they made oxygen
for you to breathe...

...while close to your skin
and as high as the sky,
air rushed in and blew about,
invisibly protecting you
and all living things on Earth.

On the day you were born
the Earth turned, the moon pulled,
the sun flared, and then, with a push, 
you slipped out of the dark quiet
where suddenly you could hear
a circle of people singing
with voices familiar and clear. 

"Welcome to the spinning world," the people sang,
as they washed your new, tiny hands.

"Welcome to the green Earth," the people sang,
as they wrapped your wet, slippery body.

And as they held you close
they whispered into your open, curving ear, 
"We are so glad you've come!""

Yes, darling child, we are so glad you've come.

7 months and 19 evenings ago, you arrived here safe and sound.  Your birth was the thing I've waited for the longest of anything in my whole life, and you've made me more whole than I knew I could be or should be.

Some days, kissing you and cuddling you and playing with you and telling you that I love you are sufficient ways for me to express to you how I'm feeling.

And some days, I feel that I could write you a letter that would let my pure, bleeding heart soak a whole ream of paper without really telling you of the depth of my love.

Your imperfections make you perfect.  Your need for me and Mom makes me feel vital and important.

The way you reach for me with tiny, chubby fingers and imploring eyes the color of a stormy sea make my insides melt and in that instant, I know that I love you infinitely more than I love myself.  And I love myself an awful lot.

Growing up, I remember my mother telling me that she loved me more than I could ever know.  At the time, in my childhood, I only recall feeling cherished and adored and always loved.  Now that I have a daughter of my own, I think I must finally know how much my own mother loves me.  I find myself whispering to Ever, as she's falling asleep, that I hope one day she'll know the full depth of my love for her.

Maybe I'm still learning about the depth of love that a person is capable of.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"The Talk"

Lately there has been a lot of talk about how we live in a "rape culture".  Victims of rape are being publicly shamed and blamed for being stupid enough, drunk enough, slutty enough to get raped.  As awful and wrong as I know it is, sometimes I even hear a little voice inside my head that says "Well, she really shouldn't have drank so much she passed out."  I've been trying to figure out where this voice comes from and I think it can be traced back to how our society approaches sex.

Today I was listening to the radio and they were addressing this issue.  They asked people to call in and tell how they talk to their kids about sex. Over and over I heard people say they teach their daughters that they need to set their boundaries and stick to them. They need to make sure they don't get in a situation where they don't have control. Their advice to their sons is that they need to respect those boundaries and not take advantage of women. That's all fine and good, but does that mean that it's acceptable for the males of our species have no sexual boundaries?  Why can't we focus on teaching all of our kids, or rather, society as a whole, that we should all respect ourselves and each other enough to know that rape in any form shouldn't be tolerated? Isn't teaching boys that it is okay for them to have no boundaries just making it worse?

I think it also relates back to gender roles. I have a hard time with the rules society places on gender.  I really feel like assigning qualities to be masculine or feminine doesn't do anybody any favors.  I know we've come a very long way, but let's not lose traction in progress because we're busy telling our boys to be boys and our daughters how not to get raped.

I have more to say, but I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts today.  I promise my next blog will be on a more cheerful subject and include lots of pictures of my amazing daughter (who is crawling up a storm nowadays).

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Not enough.

The problem with inviting strangers from across the globe to read your thoughts is that sometimes, you want to write but you're cautious to share what's been tumbling around in your brain.  I just wrote a blog.  Just.  And I wasn't brave.  And it wasn't enough to quiet the buzzing in my head.

I'm going to try again.

That day we were apart and broken; my heart plummeted through my feet.  I needed to see you, but I didn't think you'd agree.  I felt like poison, like black death dragging you down.  I was addicted.  I was drunk and high on you and your fears of being with me hurt worse than anything.  

I sent a hopeful beacon to you, begging to see your face.  You said yes.  

It wasn't safe to come to your house.  You wouldn't let me.  We met on campus, standing too far apart and too close together.  I searched your face, not knowing where you were.  I was too scared to look into your brown eyes.  

You sighed.  We sat in the grass.  I picked at my shoe.  

I glanced up and caught you staring at me.  I was drawn close, closer than logic told me I should go.  Would you push me away? 

No, you met your lips to mine instead.  I groaned and pulled you into the grass with me.  We lay together for time interminable, kissing and crying and holding one another, trying to stop the inevitable shatter.  We looked up into the heavens, darkened by being on the wrong side of the earth. The stars shone on, unaware of the loss I felt deep in my chest.  

"I can't do this." you told me.  

You left me then.  I was alone.

After all these years, I know that you were fighting to know your heart, fighting for the courage to leap beside me.  We both struggled because the depth of our feeling was so intense, so fast.  I know that you loved me, even that day, or it wouldn't have been so damned hard.

It's easy to forget after eight years what it took to get here.

All of this, our life together, is because of love.  And courage.  And strength.  And faith that together is better than apart.

I love you for fighting for us, for loving me.

But - don't forget what it took.  Don't forget what it still takes.

Springti... wait, no, Summertime!

Well, it's certainly been awhile, blog!  I've missed you.

E turned 7 months old beginning of this month! Wow.  It's surreal, because I've been here every day and kissed her face every day, but somehow I feel like surely someone's played a trick on me.  It's impossible that all our baby friends are talking about the theme for their little ones' first birthday party.  The weather is heating up and leaving winter (and the fleeting spring, for that matter) in the dust.  The snow.  No, the dust is a better analogy, since there's a lot more dust here than snow.   The weather warming up is really the first indicator to me that E is a lot older.  She was born as the summer died, and now a new summer is blooming. Already.

I am madly in love with E, and as the number of things she's learning increases exponentially, I am having such a blast being her Mama.  Something new every day, it seems.  She's become so much more mobile and independent.  I miss her being a tiny new baby, but truthfully I'm really looking forward to seeing her grow and mature.  Just... not too fast.  I'm afraid I'm going to miss something.

People have lately been doing something I was told nobody would care about after E's arrival.  They've been turning to me and saying, "So how are YOU doing?"  And they mean it.  I don't know if it's like, "How are YOU doing as a non-gestational mom?" or "How are YOU doing with only working part-time?" or "How are YOU doing with all the attention being given to E?" or "How are YOU doing with T being at work all the time?" or what.  But I want it known that I appreciate that all these people are sincere and genuinely care about my answer to their question.

I'm not really ever sure how to answer it.  I don't particularly care to LIE, but it's better and simpler to just smile and say that I'm great.  But it's complicated.  I am great... but I'm also stressed, lonely, elated, joyful, depressed, eager, questioning, unsure, unmotivated, thrilled and driven to do my best by Ev.  Every day.

Do I want to have that conversation with every single person who asks how I'm doing?  Of course not.  After all, life isn't particularly simply for anybody, right?

I strive to live in today, live in this hour, live in this fortieth minute that my precocious daughter is asleep in a row.  Tomorrow I'll try and do the same thing, and the day after that.

And you know what?  That's more than good enough.