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Your 5th Birthday

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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On your third birthday I got a tattoo on my collar bone. The Roman numeral three, three for your third and three for the three days that matter: the day you were born, the day you died, the day I’ll see you again.

The farther away I get from the day you left us, the better. I’d blot out the whole month of November. The more time between that day and now, the closer to hope of seeing you, the better.

The day you were born I remember waking up in labor, so excited, showering and straitening my hair. Driving to the hospital in the middle of the night, just as we hoped it would happen, like leaving for a road trip when it’s still dark.

I remember my forehead pressed against the cool window as the sun rose, having a contraction and watching the headlights of cars driving down 70th. Cheerful and abstract, the world starting another day.

Oh my God Lucy, the moment I scooped you out of the water to my chest–we didn’t know if you were a girl or boy, and I forgot to look.

There is only one time. The pink wrinkly skin of brand new new life, the clenched delicate fingers and tiny nails, the temperature of your skin on mine.

Only one time you see a daddy behold his tiny daughter. So perfect, you in his arms swaddled and he held you kind of like a question, becoming a stronger version of himself. Everyone thought I’d died in labor because he cried so hard announcing you’d arrived.

Only one time your family walks though delivery room doors to see such a perfect treasure. First grand baby, first niece, first everything; pink, dark-haired, so beautiful to every sense.

Your birthday, Lucy, I want to feel. I sneak out to my car at work and cry. I cry in yoga; I cry in a second. I plan a party for you. Doing my best to part with everything I flirt with, to go directly to the soft place underneath the compulsion to escape this pain. Your birthday is a good day.

I remember waiting for you to come during this lovely season change, this season that feels like waiting even if you’re not waiting for anything in particular. It’s always pricked my soul with a touch of melancholy and I wonder if it’s always held a secret.

You’d be 5. I’d be different if you were here. I’m so different than I was when I first held you. I love you, Lucy Garland.

“A new soul—I imagined a little flame, burning bright and given to me for a time.

 The miracle of it.” 

Above, from Lucy’s birth story written five years ago | Pic, my sister Talia’s farmer’s market flowers for Lu

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Season Change

Monday, August 29, 2016

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Tobin had a fever this weekend. I held him, flipping through the pages of Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook while he watched Kung Fu Panda on Netflix. I was only 10% listening to the cartoon, until the part of the episode where Mantis is taken captive and learns patience. The narrator said something to the effect of, “for the first time, the world outside was moving at a faster speed than Mantis was.” The line caused me to look up because over the past few years, I’ve done a shitty job of mostly everything BUT moving faster than my fears and feelings.

I’ve written before that honesty is more than the absence of a lie, that it’s not a passive state but an aggressive pursuit. Awareness. Honesty is aggressive because it requires downtime and thought. Personally, I enjoy the act of untangling life’s messiness through writing but I can also tend to do just about everything else in a day but make time for that reflection. Partly because it seems like a luxury I don’t have time for in the face of all the practical things that need to be done, partly because I’d rather numb out and am afraid of truth.

Honesty is aggressive because it means listening to the still small voice we would write off as cliche, but can’t. Brushing our teeth, on our commute, not always speaking in words. Often boiling down to, “You’re not being true.” Don’t we all lie to ourselves, subtly, more than we lie to anyone else? And doesn’t it take something of us not to let the voice dissipate into distraction, until the inevitable moment we regret not listening?

I’m wired to move, connect, achieve, and excel and I must have mental stimulation. I thrive off of fun; I get through the day-to-day by having non-day-to-day things on the calendar. Being busy is often criticized as this mass cultural issue we have, a badge of our collective self-importance, but it’s certainly not one-dimensionally negative: Being busy keeps me out of trouble, unless I’m busy getting into trouble. It adds richness of experience and connection to my life, and often is intertwined with the challenge of pushing towards goals (a.k.a., personal growth.) When one is healing, moving from one thing to the next on a schedule can be very important. However, moving fast just doesn’t do a damn lot to help one deal with the soft and honest places inside.

As I write this, I’m laying in bed. I haven’t slept well for months; I caught Tobin’s cold times ten, and it’s the special kind of sick partly caused by a run-down soul. I suspect that I’ve let fear run my schedule again, instead of love. I suspect that slowing down and re-prioritizing go hand-in-hand, and I suspect that this next month, Lucy’s birthday month, is best honored with a devotion to simplicity and reconnection. It’s time for me to take a step back, practice patience with priorities in place, and let the world move faster for a season. I’m listening to the still voice, telling me that the miracle will happen there.

Photo | Molly Lo

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Heavy

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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Even if we can’t un-believe the thing, we’ll reach the point where we’re simply too weary to carry it anymore.

Dust clouds as we fall to knees; grit clings to unbroken tears the broken know.

Help, too tired to say out loud. Take it. I’m tired of feeling animal.

Cheek to ground, shut eyes, blood and dirt.

Goodbye to fight or flight, to the empty energy that fueled surprisingly far. We couldn’t self-actualize our way to the place where we let it go. We failed our way there, and then we fell.