Simon gets fussy playing on daddy’s tummy, and I reach out and take him. We press cheeks together and rock a bit on the carpeted floor. He takes a big sigh and relaxes into me. We rock on the faded brown chair, with him sitting in the crook of my arm. His fingers lightly press into my forearm on either side. We walk a bit, and stop so he can stare out the window into the back yard. With my lips against his cheek, I can see his blue eye shining in his profile. I bounce him a bit on the blue exercise ball, his chin propped on my shoulder, tired eyes, soft hair caressing my face, or the other way around. We rock each other. He slowly turns his head and finds his favorite resting place, wedged in between my right collarbone and jaw. My fingers cradle his head. Eventually, after a few deep breaths of his smell, I walk him up to his nursery slowly, swaddle him, and press our cheeks together one last time to offer him a few loving hushes to sleep.
A dad told me, “There is no such thing as quality time. It’s all quantity. You can’t force quality time on kids. You just have to be there all the time to make sure you happen to be there when they need you.”
My hair is falling out by the clump-full. I have withstood weight gain, hemorrhoids, shingles, constipation, swelling, having my abdomen and uterus cut open and sown back up again, nipple blisters, sleepless nights and being covered in milk. Somehow it is losing my hair that breaks my spirit. It makes me feel weathered, meek, less than virile. It is proof of how hard my body is working. You hear that things like you will get nauseous for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, you will get tired in the third trimester, you will start to waddle and wear slippers or you will lose your hair after three months of breastfeeding but somehow you believe it will happen to everyone but you. You will rise above. I didn’t. I rarely look in the mirror anymore, but when I do, my bald spots remind me of my weariness.
A mom told me she looked at her son and said, “You are the one I didn’t even know I was waiting for!”
I am a tree. My limbs are getting stronger by the day as I lift, rock, squat, embrace, lower. I can feel my roots widening, reaching deeper into the earth to sustain and renew me. There is purpose in stillness, giving light, shade, and presence. The wind bends me but I do not break. At my core, there is calm, peace and joy. Simon and I sit on a blanket in the backyard in the morning time, reading books, listening to birds and exploring toys. He stops for every single plane that flies by and turns a serene face of sheer wonderment toward the sky. I watch too, with him, while holding my little love in my lap. We get curious about who is in those planes, where they are coming from, and where they are going. We wish them well and then get back to the business of playing.