Even though I have felt stretched many times this past week, being with Julius by myself, I am floored with gratitude for the moments I get to witness of my little boy growing up. Yes, it is me who does all of the rocking to sleep, puts him down for naps, walks him in the stroller and the ergo and cooks and cleans and does the laundry and takes the car to the mechanic. My body knows it.
Being the only one who gets to watch the way he picks things up and turns them in his little hands with the chubby wrists; the way he talks quietly to himself (‘weeb weeb’ ‘beeb’); the way he takes a wooden egg and puts it back in its wooden egg cup for the first time; the way he looked at me when we went for a walk outside this afternoon. My heart expands until it hurts. His two bottom teeth jut out of pink gums, his eyes turn to slits and his forehead bulges between his eyebrows as he offers me the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. He is saying thank you, I love you, thank you, I am happy. Only I get to see that smile, that message. I cannot capture it in film or even in writing.
So, I tend to stop what I’m trying to get done (reading, studying, writing emails, paying bills) just to watch him explore. Tipping over baskets and feeling the woven base over and over again. Picking up fallen sprigs of parsley or onion skins and tasting those. Shaking things that make noise, his favorite blue cloth rattle with the face on it, or a tupperware container full of coffee beans. He can eat a whole small banana now and it amazes me that he has learnt how to chew and swallow. I am brought to tears with the love that I have for him as he engages with the world without me.
As I rocked him to sleep in the rocking chair tonight, I remembered the earliest nights. The dozens of pillows to prop us up. Tired limbs and devoted hearts. I can’t remember what his cry sounded like. He was so small, so vulnerable, so loving. He still is. Now he falls as he learns how to crawl and to pull up to standing and his body takes the blows. He complains but he gets back up. God I love him so much. He is my baby and he’s growing so fast. What will I do when there are no more toys on the ground and little hands to hold them? The teepee I built for him is still and quiet and the living room is darkened as I write while he sleeps upstairs in my bed. What on earth will I do when he grows up?
I will have my relationship with my husband back, all to myself, that’s what, and we will write poetry and dance and cook together and drink wine at our kitchen table with a hundred scratches on it, and we will be together again as we were in the beginning. Expanding and contracting. I saw this evening as I walked the frozen ground in the empty fields, not another soul around, that we will be back to this land. This place where I became a mother, where I escaped from New York with my lover, where we were married. I know that we will return here to burn sage and bonfires, to swim in the river and smoke joints in the cinema parking lot. It might be 20 years from now, maybe more, but I know it in my bones.
What a ride life is. I am excited for our new chapter in California next year. Give me desert nights and sun-touched skin, cactus and wild fennel and the ocean and all the lemon trees. I love you Julius. I love you Isaac. My family, my blood, my world.