The Practice of Sight / Motherhood

Light crawls from the corner up the molding, then spreads across the glass panes one by one, sheets of glowing sun.   Silence rests on the yellow chair across the room, like a comfortable friend, sharing in the dawn of this day through angled shadows on the patterned tweed. A gentle hum emerges from a city waking, starting its engines, opening doors and arms to another day of possibility. Selling stocks, cheese, adds, energy, coffee.  Feet begin to treat the grid of yet another day. Then I hear it, soft, unmistakable sound of small feet padding floor. I can feel the presence before the sound, the breath on my face because she leans in so close and quietly before her hand softly touches my arm. I look, she smiles broad with excitement and asks if she can put a princess dress on.  Tired, my first impulse is to crawl within the covers and tell her to go back to bed.  I need sleep. But how many times do I get this? The smile, the hand, the excitement of child who’s only desire is to put on a princess dress. Of course, why wouldn’t you want to start the day in glitter and lace, magical imagination. I have the choice to brush off this childishness, the wasting of time on something simple…or actually see and feel the moment that has been handed to me.  She wants me to see.

I will never forget the first time I held her – soft new skin, smallest wrinkled toes, wide eyes looking up at me, blurrily seeing for the first time, lungs taking in air, ears taking in sounds of a new world. Birth. It’s absolutely crazy, incredible and terrifying all at the same time. So much pain and breaking of the body, then at once, flooding love with sight of this small being, a witnessed miracle.

Motherhood.

It’s been almost four years now. There are times where it is easy to see the magic of it.  There moments of connection and joy gush freely.  Nothing could be more wonderful, elating – your heart runs around in the sunlight and the world is as it should be.

Then there are the hard times. Where the magic has been sucked from the room,  your 3-year-old has just performed the tantrum of a lifetime and with one foul swoop took your very soul and dignity. After wiping the last tear from her face, she then smiles and informs you “this is just how girls are (emotional).”

Gasp.

We chip away at the hard surface, desperate for a drop of that gushing joy to sneak out again. One. More. Time.

Tonight, I’m remembering the struggle, how hard it was for us, like so many others, to find the magic. So we tried to have a child for years. T r i e d….a n d…. t r i e d.  Which is slightly awkward to tell strangers because everyone is thinking the same thing “lots of sex.” But for some reason, we just couldn’t get pregnant. Years passed of attempted adoption, tests, trying, giving up, more tests. Giving up.

The rollercoaster ride of not being able to conceive a child was heart wrenching. I never knew the journey would possess so much pain. It was the beginning of a great struggle for me, one that lead to a massive shift of belief.

Astonishing how many women I came in contact with that were on the same journey.  We would e-mail, call on Mother’s Day in hopes to help the great ache of longing, cry when it was too much, and helped each other unclench our hearts and hands. None of us liked being “that girl”  - the one the others were afraid to tell their good news to, the fragile one.  I was in a mentorship program at the time, mentoring a 15-year-old girl.  It was unbelievable how many of her friends were pregnant, how so many girls who didn’t want a child had a child or multiples …gaggles and gaggles of children.  It was like a really bad joke.  “Okay, I get it. Stop flaunting your awesomely fertile wombs and placentas that produce fleets of offspring, it’s gross…and over-populating.

I would walk around the house at times, singing this melody and words, hoping I would believe it someday:

“You make beautiful things.”

I wanted to believe it, but it was like a children’s story once heard and now too old, too experienced to hold on to. I heard of miracles, but didn’t believe anymore because of the lack of seeing. The floating light blazing in the sky, giving all things life, that was everyday occurrence. My eyes were clouded. Still, I sang the melody, like a meditation for my own soul, hoping I would believe it again.

A long time passed…moving forward, falling back, then forward again. And the meditation changed – it slowly became more about seeing the miraculous right in front of me than looking for a whole different miraculous. Seeing miracles actually happening all around me.  It felt like ages, feeling your way through the dark, not knowing if there was light at the end of the tunnel. But it happened, the years of shifting, letting go, and discovering all led to a place of not just being okay, but complete.  Grateful.  I did not need something else/ someone else to believe this Love creates beauty all around us. I could sing the words because my eyes were beginning to see again. It was there all along, the light crawling up the window pane, the floating orb that gives off just the right amount of heat so I live, the hum of a world awakening, selling cheese and bread and energy. It was there, I just had to practice sight.

So when we surprisingly heard those lovely words – “you’re pregnant,” I was grateful/ jumping out of my skin/ ecstatic in so many ways.  I was so grateful the pregnancy wasn’t the thing that made me believe in Love again. I believed in Love again because she is Present Reality. She wants me to see.

So I sit here.

Thinking of the gift.  Thoughts of my almost 4-year-old and how she has dramatically changed our lives.  How she calls my name at night when she has a bad dream. How she crawls into our bed in the morning to kiss our faces and lightly run her fingers over my nose. How she is thoroughly entrenched in girl world, dresses, beads and lace. And how we are just days away from meeting this new one. As I write this, she kicks and moves around in my belly, a crazy, alien-like experience.  In a few days, Motherhood will greet me again, with a whole new heart, lungs, and experiences.

I get so many days of this.

Magical moments, waiting to be seen.

And at the same time, I think of the struggle - for the women who are still longing for a chance to see these moments, or have faced the utterly bitter loss of a child. Still hoping for a tiny hand to grasp their own, a small voice to call out to them at night. My heart, like many others, is with you. There is no silver-lining, no reason, just the feeling of lack. But I know our stories entwine, and though you may feel completely alone, please know, you are not. You are intrinsically connected to all of us who have felt the ache.  You are not alone.  There is still magic for you. She, Love, is here for you.

So if your arms are full – may you grasp the moments that have been handed to you. The hard and the wonderful, they are all magic, may you have the eyes to see.

And if your arms are longing – may you feel comforted, feel the hand of God our Mother holding you close the way a mother does.

These moments we are given are a gift. They react to our attention, shape us and others around us. In pain, grief, gain, fullness, whatever thoughts Motherhood holds for you today, may you have the eyes to see, there is magic right in front of us.