Tuesday, December 21, 2010
When I was a child
I would run my fingers
Over embossed pictures of you
In your mother's lap
If I could sit in yours.
I would slide my creamy hand
Around your olive neck
And hold tight,
Burying my shame in your shoulder
And we would weep together
Over the loss of my innocence
And the unfairness of life.
I am older now
But not quite grown.
And I still long
For the intimacy of your embrace
Because even the joy of life is too much
To bear alone.
And I wonder
If you would gather me up, still
And let me, like beloved John,
Press my ear against your beating heart
And trace the softness of your beard
With a childlike hand.
Would I be able to drink in your scent
And let peace consume me
With every breath
As you gather my tears
For more Magpie Tales look here.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
At age 40, I had a baby in my bed. I died that same night.
The day itself seemed unremarkable--steady contractions still lingering from Monday and Tuesday. Nothing a nap and a bath wouldn't cure, I thought. But during my nap, I awoke several times with contractions that made me grip the bed. Not so much from pain, but more as though someone were squeezing me from the inside out.
I wasn't quite sure how to imagine the day and the delivery because this would be my first time. Not to have children--no, no. I have lots of those. My first time to have a child at home. Decidedly away from the hospital. And doctors. And pain medicine.
When I embarked on this journey, I was a sojourner in Austin. A transplant from Stepford, where there is a proper way to do everything--including having a baby.
After just a few months in Austin, I met women who moved freely and confidently through their days--every step an independent expression of the beautiful dance of their lives.
I was jealous.
Panicked, I questioned the thoughts churning under my perfectly-coiffed hair. I ran head-on into my planned, conservative life, and I hated what I saw: a bound woman. I remembered the girl I once was--a fiery, independent force who discreetly took a back seat to make way for a pat on the head. Somehow I had lost that girl, and I was going to find her.
When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child, I relived every other birth in my head. I saw myself, sitting across from my doctor. Assenting to the "need" to be induced, to be pumped with pitocin, to have a needle in my spine to be relieved from what I believed would be unbearable pain. In that moment I could not stomach the thought of another anesthetized birth. It was just too indicative of my numbed life.
I began searching for alternatives, and as soon as I heard my midwife Michele's voice on the phone, I knew I found my answer. The thought of a birth experience that would be authentic and all mine made me cry. With each visit to Michele's home, I felt grounded--right, somehow. But Stepford Girl was right there. Going through a list of worries and reminding me that I was crazy.
On Jonathan's birthday, I got up from my nap and looked at my birth kit that had been tied in neat bundles and tucked away like Christmas gifts. I was giddy and nervous at the same time. I called Michele around 7:30 that evening--still not sure that I was in labor. At 8:00 Michele's assistant Scottie bounced in with her sunshine smile. She took one look at me and knew it was my time. Michele examined me as soon as she arrived, and told me I was dilated to 8cm. I was already in transition, and although my contractions were enough to take my breath away, I could smile between them. I relaxed in a warm bath waiting for complete dilation--but that was short-lived. Michele heard me sounding "pushy" through my contractions and came in to help me to the bed. Suddenly everything that seemed so peaceful and slow began to speed up. I bore down on Michele's shoulders through my next contraction, afraid I would crush her tiny frame as my water broke. After having another contraction in the bathroom doorway, I made my way to the bed. As the next contraction came, the pain seized me, and I turned and screamed into my pillow. I heard Michele's calm voice telling me I was safe. I remember thinking I feel safe, I am just in immense PAIN. Nevertheless, Michele's gentle words and soft touch on my back helped me focus. With the next contraction, Michele spoke relief to me: "Roll over. It's time to push." The pain burned white hot, time rushed through me, and my heart throbbed in my ears. Suddenly suspended outside of time, I felt my Jonathan come into this world. A wet, warm miracle crying on my belly! With each pulse of the umbilical cord, the pain subsided. Peace enveloped me, and, still suspended above this surreal scene, I looked back to see someone I vaguely recognized.
Lying there on the bed was Stepford Girl. Anemic and breathless, she cried out to me. Wanting me to give her my hand--to confine myself again in the ordinary life she created. The comfortable life she desperately wanted for me. But it was too late. I had tasted real pain, real life, real freedom. So I left her there, gasping and pleading. Stepford Girl died that night, but I . . . I held my beautiful son and lived.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
when the prickle
if the tender rain is a gift for the unjust
cut the bonds cinched tight
Friday, June 4, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
At fourteen, she is so much more than I ever was at her age. Strong, independent, and completely comfortable in her own skin, she shines with the light of a true original--a fresh-faced, converse-clad, guitar-playing original. When she was first born, I imagined that she would be a small version of me--only, hopefully, without all of the mistakes. But who could have ever imagined the richness and dimension she would add? She has helped me to learn to let go of perfection. She makes me feel beautiful, and wise, and really happy to be growing older. She introduced me to Maroon 5 and Twilight and comfy t-shirts and JabbaWockeeZ. Most importantly--she inspires me to serve a little more selflessly, to live bigger, and to embrace change courageously. I think when I grow up, I would like to be more like her.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
cast not your net for me
This is what I saw when I got up yesterday morning:
Yep, right there, in the most unlikely of places, were these captivating flowers. And I cannot tell you the joy they brought me, because, like these bulbs, I have felt very unearthed and honestly a little forgotten by God. Like He put me aside for a while because there was no perfect place for me to be planted. So I have been waiting. Waiting to be watered. Waiting to feel my roots thriving in the soil. Waiting to feel like I belong to something again. But as we all know, life is rarely measured out to us in comfort and security--many times our conditions are rough, and our resources are sparse.
Today, though, I have a new perspective because of these little metaphors ablaze on my porch. Maybe everything I need in order to thrive has been in me before I was ever uprooted. Maybe I am not forgotten after all. Would it be so crazy to think that even in my seeming displacement, I could (and should) stop waiting and start bringing a little joy and beauty into someone else's life? So today, instead of wishing for a garden of rich soil and soft, sweet rain, I think I will just . . . bloom.