Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hanna Turns Six and I Think

Hanna's birthday was a few weeks ago and in the days since then I have been thinking a lot about her, and life, and have generally been overcome with all kinds of emotion. There is exactly a week between Hallie's birthday and Hanna's and in that gap I went down to Texas to be with my family there and help out any way I could. The juxtaposition of going from a birthday for an eight year old, to spending a week with my dad, aunt and uncle who are all now grandparents, and my grandma who is 95, and then rushing back home for the birthday of a six year old made quite an impression on me. This is what my thoughts looked like:

This is what I do, 
And so I do it. 
Now sure if I am good at it,
I know surely I'm not bad. 
And this is what I do and so I do it. 
Those in my care can be noisy,
unpredictable,
and at times might even
appear
to be broken. 
But what I have is mine 
and I will always claim them.
When all of it comes crashing down
and there is more than I can hold
I tell myself once more,
This is what I do
And so I do it. 
I do it not for glory
or acclaim,
and for this job
few will praise my name. 
But this is what I do
And so I do it. 

I love you Hanna, thank you for giving me a job to do every day. Sometimes I think it is too much of a job for me, but then you are always there with open arms, and open heart.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hallie Turns Eight and I Remember

I remember, and as I wander through the memories it feels as though I am not just remembering but living it again.  The years suddenly mean nothing and I remember how it felt.  All of me so raw and fresh and new -there was this sudden new part that I was to play in life, a new role that had been anticipated for nine months but not fully understood even as it was thrust literally into my arms.  Mother.

And there, that tiny body, those fingers and toes, those long thin arms and legs.  Those eyes that opened and took in the world and then, overwhelmed and confused, closed again.  This process repeated over and over until the lights weren't so shocking and the voices weren't so loud and the world began to come clearer to her eyes.

Her eyes that were so startlingly blue as a baby and then deepened and greened to the color of late autumn grass on a misty day.  Not quite brown, not quite green, you aren't quite sure what color you are seeing and so you look, and look again, and in the looking you decide you don't know what color they are, but you do know that it is peaceful, and quiet in those eyes.

I remember long dark nights, so many nights where she cried and I cried because I didn't know how to stop the crying and I didn't know if I could do anything at all, anymore.  I was terrified of the coming of nights, because each setting of the sun and long intervening hours broke me down, entirely, utterly, every piece of me torn apart and scattered.  Then, just at the peak of my despair, every morning the sun would rise up, and I would find a sleeping baby in my arms, and my own tears dried on my cheeks, and I would tell myself, "you can do this, because you have to." And somehow, I would.

And she never judged me, she never hated me as I hated myself all those times I didn't know what I was doing and wanted to give up, to quit, to walk away.  So I stayed, and she grew, and she helped me grow, too.

Happy Birthday, Hallie

As much as it is your birthday, I hope you don't mind if on this eighth one that has so much meaning for me, you will share it with me a little bit because in some ways it is my birthday too.  The birthday of my life as mother.  Thank you, Hallie, for being brave enough to be my first baby.  I love you so much.