You turned eight weeks old a few days ago, and dare I say that you’re also turning a corner. It’s true kiddo — these first two months with you have not been the picnic we were hoping for. No, you’ve been incredibly fussy, tough to soothe and hard to handle. That’s not to say we haven’t delighted in your existence, because we have. But along the way we’ve also been pulling out our hair trying to make you stop crying.
I’ll admit that I’ve been a little depressed and overwhelmed this summer, but I seem to be turning a corner right along side you. All of a sudden it seems as though all you and I are capable of is smiling at each other. I must say it’s a nice change. Your little smiles just make my knees weak. Your dad is in New York right now and you were up at 4:30 this morning, wide awake and snuffling around in bed beside me until I finally turned on the light and we blinked at each other a few times. I could hear crickets outside still and a breeze blew through the window. Your sister slept soundly in her bed in the room next to us and for a few long minutes you and I just smiled and smiled at each other like we had the biggest secret in the world.
Motherhood is an enchanting thing. It’s exquisitely torturous at times too. You’ve broken my heart open all over again and it’s both the sweetest and the most painful thing I’ve ever felt. I remember being eighteen years old and in my freshman year of college. My own mother was dying of cancer and I don’t quite remember what prompted it — perhaps just the vast power of being out on my own in the world for the first real time — but I suddenly came to the realization that there was an incredible beauty to be found in even the most painful experiences. I couldn’t get over it, this epiphany. I recall sitting in my dorm room alone, leaves falling outside the ice cold glass of the windows, and thinking, life is so beautiful, even in the darkest moments.
It’s something that’s always stayed with me, the knowledge that you can’t have one with out the other: beauty and darkness. They could not exist without the other. That day in my dorm room I tucked the knowledge away inside of me somewhere as though it were a little wishing rock that I could pull out of my pocket and smooth my finger across from time to time. It felt that real. It still does.
I wonder what epiphanies and realizations you’ll have in your life, my little dear. Every day I look down at your little face looking back up at mine and I wonder to myself, who are you? Where will you go in this life? What will you see? Who will you love? What will break your heart? What will fill it back up again?
I do hope that one day it strikes you as simply as it struck me that day — how terribly beautiful life is.