Writing lives deep inside of me, like memories, like the place I call home. Sometimes it sleeps for so long. I try to wake it, but it slumbers at it's own pace, like a mama bear in the winter: warm, slow, heavy. But sometimes little bits of it rise up from my belly, like wisps of smoke from the ashes of last night's fire. It's always there, in some form. It weaves around my insides, my guts, my thoughts, my memories, shaping how i remember things, how i perceive things, and how i tell you things.
There are things that make me think, I must write! How else can I truly convey or capture the depth of the pain that one feels when she loves a child? how the spectrum of emotion in motherhood is so vast and curving that pleasure and pain meet at exactly the same place? Photographs keep my memories for me, but it is writing that makes them breathe again. For me, words are the keepers of the past, and they hold the power of medicine and magic.
Lately I have been tripping out on motherhood. This is nothing new. Motherhood is trippy. Every moment of every day is remarkable. My child is now 9 years old, and all the cliches are true: it goes so quickly, they grow so fast, enjoy them while they are small!
My child is large. His teeth are big and his limbs are long. He wears my flip flops and they fit him. He reasons with me, he explains things to me, he calls me out on my shit. I watch in wonder as his baby face is slowly swallowed by his boy face. there are moments where my breath catches at the thought of how close he is to grown-up. how short the time is that i have now to be the hero, to be the most important one, to hold the power to always make things better. Now, when I look at his baby photos, it feels far away: distant golden-orb memories of a different era. I have only been alive for 31 years, and 9 of those I have spent with Asher. so much time has passed, so much has changed and we have grown in so many ways.
Do not think that I lament for the past in a way that means i would return there. I trust the way the world turns and i appreciate the past as well as the prospect of the future. as hard as it is sometimes, i appreciate change. but, as a woman and a mother, i cannot help but to take some time, now and then, to dive deep in the rabbit hole of memory, to remember the baby i created so long ago, to allow myself to really feel the ache of loving a child. from the day of birth, we begin to let our children go: It is a long and delicate process.
I have watched you cry and drool, i have watched you laugh and yell and make the biggest messes a child can make. i have watched the fierceness of your tiny body, the passion of your dissatisfaction, the way in which you can destroy an entire day with your tantrums, the way you can restore my entire heart with your laugh.
I have watched you start small (so small) and slowly get bigger. each day the golden light glowing, growing from your core. i have watched your tiny round cheeks get bigger, less round. your body has stretched, elongated, the swift growth from baby to boy. you lost your baby teeth. literally. they fell out and some of them we never found again, not for the tooth fairy, not for me. i see a photograph now of you with your baby teeth and my heart aches. my eyes sting already with the tears of time, moments that are gone forever, the marks of your youth already far behind me, years gone by, so much has changed.
and you are only 9.
the poets are right - in a single tear, there exists the entire ocean.