Tuesday, February 01, 2011
A big thank you to Rebecca for blogging in my absence over the past couple months!
Its been ten weeks since I had a baby and I think its fair to say life as I knew it has been turned on its head. There are of course the obvious changes: the day is now structured around the needs of a tiny, hungry, brand new person who doesn't care much for my to do list. I'm lucky if I can get one errand done in a day.
Time has slowed to a snail's pace when it comes to cooking and laundry, but its also flying by. Baby grows and changes at light speed. She's gone from 6 pounds 11 oz to almost 13 pounds in her short life, from seeing only a foot in front of her to being able to track me from across the room, and most remarkably gone from a distant, sleepy gaze to broad faced grins like these:
The grins are the best. They make my heart explode with happiness. I would do anything for them.
But the biggest change that first hit like a mac truck and has since been winding its way through my thoughts has to do with the way I think of myself. Like most artists and writers, I've always leaned pretty heavily on my work to define who I am. Its what makes me feel different and special and unique, the thing that I have to offer the world. Strangely that is shifting. Having a kid is perhaps the most commonplace thing a person can do. It doesn't make me different at all, if anything it makes me more like everyone else. But it feels so profoundly beautiful in all its commonness.
There is a quote from one of my new mom books that I love:
"A few weeks ago, my baby gave me a flower. Never mind that ... it was missing a few petals, or that he wasn't entirely sure he wanted to let it go. It was-and is-the most gorgeous flower ever given or received. Silver and gold wouldn't buy it from me ... These aren't just my hands anymore; they belong to a lineage of mothers a planet wide and millenia old. I was a woman on an April evening in a kitchen in my corner of the world, catching time between the pages of a baby book, and at the same time, I was my mother, her mother, a mother somewhere on another continent carefully tucking a flower into the pocket of her shirt, a flower you couldn't buy from her with silver or gold. We don't know each other, but all over the world and all through time, we're gathering up wilted flowers and misspelled love notes, and every single one of us knows the singular ache that's love and pride and sadness all mixed into one."
-The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Part of me feels sad that the life I had is gone- no more staying up all night to finish a painting or feverishly devoting every waking thought to a story idea. Now my time is scheduled and my job is to make the most of the time I have in front of the computer, when I have it. But I also feel deeply excited about this new life. Mother love is fierce and unending. As I find my way back into making books I do so with a wilted flower in my pocket.