10 years have passed since the moment birth entered my life.
The little one I now know so well smiles at the story of how she raised her head, when first placed on my chest, and howled. How I couldn’t help but laugh in the middle of happiness and shock. She was just so new into this world, and she has continued to catch me off guard every moment since.
Today, she held my hand as we walked to school, and smiled when I yelled Happy Birthday through through the gate into her schoolyard. I’ll buy her a birthday treat of French macarons to share with her class, take her home to play, and celebrate at our favorite restaurant, dining on breadsticks and butter, even though we eat mainly gluten-free and vegan. There will be a candle, smiles, a wish and love.
And, it won’t end today, which is my favorite part of birthday celebrations.
We will take the rest of the week, and the rest of the month after that to be in graceful surrender to this period of growth, change and celebration.
The month becomes full of love notes, rich undertones of music and preferences, guidance, and desire.
Parenting has always been a full, rich experience for us; full of challenges, mistakes, laughter and tears.
I didn’t always approach motherhood in this way. I birthed my little one at age 19. A sophomore in college, I never turned down an opportunity to prove to the world that I could survive and succeed as a parent, and as a woman who would make a difference. I don’t know how I did what I did, working full time, attending school full time.
And still remembering, even now, every moment of her topsy turvy baby milestones.
Then, Grad school. A huge move. My world falling apart. Depression. Quiet solitude. Rekindling connection even as the world felt too hazy to see straight. Kindergarten, changing schools for 2nd Grade, now 4th Grade. Life here feels perfect again. Possible. Travel, travel, spending a summer living in Paris, eating croissants obsessively. A new messy home that we can redesign together. A week of cold darkness in NYC when the river came raging in. Spending the majority of the winter holiday season nurturing sick bodies from the winter’s viral flu, as we watched the lights twinkle on our tree. (1st time in more than 4 years we’d been sick like that. Hello, green juice + clean eating!) A little girl who made a grocery list for her momma, which listed “Mommy” as the second item.
So I know. Life is difficult, full of challenges. Beautiful.What I once found impossibe – travel being the most notable – is now on the list of obvious possibilities. It all just requires some thought and a little ingenuity, and, voilà. It becomes.
I couldn’t have become without honoring my lessons, my rules, and my loves.
1. Support. Sisterhood. A community. Women. I would never try to survive without any one of the women who have crossed me path.
3. Asking the questions.
4. Listen to the answers. To a child, every idea, every word is important, necessary, and full of promise.
5. Knowing that I could reinvent the Rules of Parenting when it suited me.
6. They will eat kale, spinach, broccoli and peas. They will drink smoothies that are green, eat salads full of creative nourishment, and they will enjoy it. They will also always learn by example.
7. Trust yourself, and trust them. We all have to navigate the same process, over and over.
8. Make mistakes. Make more mistakes. Tell them. The more you make, the more they can trust you to keep them safe while they make thier own mistakes.
9. Get clear on what you don’t want, to figue out what you do. Decide on non-negotiables – we’re vegan. No meat, thankyouverymuch. Be flexible. She wants to try chicken.
10. Decide if you like the advice that comes your way. Try it out. Keep what works. Reject what doesn’t. You’ll see what feels right and is in alignment with your life. It exists the way books do – to provide perspective and added support.
I would never change one little morsel of my journey. It has always been mine, perfect and right, for us.
So you see.
I’ve been sitting down every morning for the last 30 days, knowing that today would be the day I could write these words, but I had to try, to make sense of the story.
In the end, I feel like the wise old grandmother, sharing a tale with children nestled underfoot. Knowing my time has come, but for this one last story, I will not leave this world until its lesson has passed between my lips.
I believe women are strong. I believe birth is powerful. I believe that no matter how strong, how resilient, we cannot take on the world alone, nor should we. We are always, always stronger together.
These are the stories I long to share. Stories that inspire creativity in parenting, trust in the world, and energy that can just transport you into another world where life is possible.