Twenty-nine years ago today, I spent the entire day and most of the night in the hospital–with my spouse who was giving birth to our first child. The details of the day, like so many others, were varied, difficult and exhausting. For us, they included some dangerous and unexpected turns of events. At dusk, they placed this new being in my arms, and shoved me out of the surgical unit where they continued to work on my spouse who was the under general anesthesia.
My life changed forever in that moment. Nine months of expecting and learning and waiting and talking had not in any way prepared me for the near death, near life experience of having a child–and I was at best a very close observer to the whole event. And then they placed this new being in my arms. What I remember most vividly of those first moments was looking into her face and being so clear that this was a whole, wonderful being ALREADY, someone with whom I was beginning a life-time relationship, someone who might learn from me but who was already her own being. To put it crudely, she was already a “complete package.”
I was drawn in. Our life of having and raising and being in relationship with our three children over these last 29 years has been a continuum of being drawn into the beings of these our loves and finding magic and miracles arising out of that mutual drawing in even in the darkest and dirtiest of moments. (NB. You cannot raise children without dark and dirty moments, and it’s out of these that the most magical and miraculous events can arise).
I remember on that day twenty-nine years ago that at some point, after nurses had taken her back from me that I found some quiet spot and just wept. I didn’t know why, and I still don’t have many words for it except that amazing wonder was rising up in me and tears seemed the only way to handle that kind of overwhelm. I’ve noted, ever since then, and with each birth of our children, that tears come more easily, more often to me. I’ve noticed that there are depths of joy and pain that are mine. I’ve noticed that I am forever captive to the inspirations of love that these three, and their mom draw me into. The Muses–at least three times in my life, showed up in tightly wrapped blankets, placed in my arms, leaving me (yeah, imagine, even me) utterly speechless.