Nothing, other than grief, has taken me further from and also brought me closer to myself and the depth of human love than motherhood. I think that’s what they mean when they say, “Yeah, but it’s worth it!”.
I am someone who relates to the world in a deep, larger-than-life way. My process is to feel and surround an experience from all sides; only then do I understand and move forward. I am learning to let that be, without the internal judgment that I feel too much or that I am too sensitive. I am learning to find beauty in the way I interact with the world around me, even when it’s inconvenient.
I wrote a letter to each of my girls at 10:45pm the night before we left for a spontaneous trip to Big Sur. I was an anxious, sad mess thinking of something bad happening to Ryan and I. Nothing makes me consider my mortality more than getting on an airplane with nothing but freedom and impending joy on the horizon.
I went there. I mean I really went there. How Coura and Mara would pretty much have no memories of me if I died. How all of this life we have lived together so far would only be an essence of who they are. No one to recall the exact intimate details, connection and love we shared. The tiny details like the way Mara’s hair curls after the bath, the shit grin on Coura’s face when she’s been up to no good or the brave, determined look when she’s trying something new. The way Maisley laughs and all of her gums show when Ryan uses his Forrest Gump voice. The way she cuddles in when we do special time at night and asks me to draw with her.
**Of course, I know they would have stories and photos and videos, they would have my sisters who know them like their own kids, their loving grandparents and my amazing friends.**
I would hate for them to read my words or my blog and only see the hard parts of early motherhood. The truth is, they are the good parts.
The first day of a trip is always disorienting to me. My rigidity and fear don’t match the loose seams of wanderlust-ing. Once my body catches up, I recalibrate and can see myself where I am again. When I open my eyes, there I am, in a bright new world with so much to see and experience.
I hope my girls visit Big Sur when they’re older and come to the Henry Memorial Library for a concert. I hope they remember when their mom and dad went there on a whim. I hope they feel us there, our memories, the magic. Our awe and wonder deep in the forest floor. I hope they call me and Ryan so we can reminisce on the way we cried at the opening ballad of Rising Appalachia, their serene voices traveling through the redwood trees.
I hope they know this trip was magical because of them. Because I have them to come home to. Both the luxury of a beautiful, full, family and the richness of a diverse inner life of freedom.
The adventurous part of me was in pure bliss, driving down the California coast, listening to live music, experiencing novelty at every turn. Meanwhile the more fearful part who craves comfort and safety played a little song and dance. When my parts get loud, when they conflict, or mix and match it makes me feel disoriented. Why can’t I just feel joy without fear tethered so close behind? Who do I believe? Which part is true?
I guess what’s true is that I am neither part. I am something deeper than all of it.
I am the one who witnesses it all, who disappears into the earth and comes up only to deliver branches of love, truth and wisdom.