leap day

It’s a lovely day here in our part of the Midwest: Cloudy but warm, in the 50s this afternoon. The light filtering in through the windows of our little cottage is tempting us out and into the day. It isn’t spring yet, but this air tells us spring’s coming. Things aren’t easy, but they’re getting there: J is feeling more peaceful, Bram is interacting more and more. He’s only had two long sleeps so far, but that’s a start. It’s a promise of more. He loves high contrast board books. He’ll sleep in the MamaRoo for twenty minutes or so twice a day, and it’s startling what you can do with twenty arms-free minutes. He can’t get enough of music – jazz, classical, folk – so we sing and dance our way through each day. He’ll be six weeks tomorrow, and in keeping with this “I heart rain, it makes the grass grow green” onesie, the boy is growing.

He must be nearing eleven pounds. He’s too long for nearly all of his zero-to-three month clothes, and for his newborn diapers. He still loves our sling carriers, but he’s spending more and more time awake and alert, his first attempts at play, which involve grabbing at or pushing away our hands, discovering his own dangling limbs, reaching for (but not clasping) rattles, and smiling when we bestow loud, loud smooches on his finally.healing cheeks. He’s busy learning about this world, a concentration you can see in his furrowed brow line.

I love how much of his life he shares with us, but I also adore watching him in his own, private world, the one we’ll never fully grasp. It’s not a lot, but he does have some autonomy. Before he came, I wondered how I’d gauge his consent: how would I know for sure if he wanted baby massage, or yoga, or kisses? But we don’t need language to read each other in these ways. And he doesn’t have to cry for me to know he doesn’t grant consent. I watch him, and I know. We ask for his permission to do things, and then we watch to see if we have it. Respecting him – both his needs and his boundaries – is a great pleasure to me. It might be one of the greatest of this whole journey. I don’t want to shelter my child from grief, or sadness, or even pain (it hurts him to digest, but I know that’s just part of it; it’s just hard to be a new person with new little organs and new, unpracticed flesh), but I pray with all of my might that he might always know respect, that he might always respect others.

I love co-parenting with J. She is a remarkable parent, and I believe we are doing well by this child. Second only to honoring my marriage, this is the strongest calling in my life, and meeting this calling is thrilling. I don’t always feel great at parenting, but I do always feel that I’m mothering him in a way that is consistent with my values, my beliefs, my intentions for my family. I believe that J and I are a great team. I listen to The Swell Season’s “In These Arms” * and believe that I was born to hold this baby, to guide him. It is more of a privilege than I can describe. When he’s grown, someday, I hope he’ll read this and think these words have been born out. If he does, I’ll believe I’ve used this life well.

* Thank you, MJB. You and your music bring us much light.


5 thoughts on “leap day

  1. You’re welcome – glad you like the songs – “In These Arms” is definitely one of my favorites and totally gets at the wonderful idea of feeling like you were meant to love someone. Love to you, J, and B, MJB

    • This is an incredibly kind comment, and it came at a real low point for me. Thank you for the encouragement and the faith.

  2. Hi :)

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time. But never wanted to be that random person that comments that you have no idea who they are. But, here I am. Congratulations on Bram – he is stunning, as are the both of you. Further – I am deeply sorry about Emmett. My partner and I lost a baby girl – Joah, in September of 2010, its still fresh in my mind as well.

    I wanted to ask a question – and wasn’t sure where to do it..Yours is the only two mom blog I have come across where one mama wanted to carry but couldn’t for medical reasons. My partner and I now find ourselves in a similar situation. We want a child, and I so desperately want to carry the baby – but due to medical reasons I cannot, and my partner will be carrying our baby. I am so extatic to parent with her, and so extatic to have a child with her. I am not nervous or scared about bonding with the baby, nor am I concerned about being attached. I *know* I will love him/her. What saddens me is that I will never carry the baby – never feel the kicks, or experience nursing the snurfling newborn. I am sad about the loss of all of those experiences. I was wondering if you ever went through your own grieving process at the loss of this experience, and what you found helped you get through it, where you turned for support?

    Thank you for continuing to allow me, and others, a glimpse into your lives <3

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