On My Mind Today

A few things that have been lolling around in my mind today (that’s me with a lolling mind. whatever. it’s me after I got my haircut a few weeks ago.)…

The memory of my brother in law’s ex-girlfriend, Liz, when she birthed her baby at 17 young years of age. This was almost 2 years ago, before my Kaia was even a sparkle in my eye. Liz is a tall, sweetly naive, partly mystic Romanian-American young womam who is proud and resourceful and has a fierce fashion sense (complete with BCBG, D&G taste). I recall that on her 9 month pregnant belly, she painted a bright, yellow sun at her swim birthday party. She always carries herself with such grace and ease…almost makes you forget her young age.

We arrived at the hospital moments after her sweet Emma Elizabeth was born. There was Liz, a brand new Mama, smiling brightly with wide doe eyes, and holding her babe close. The room was quiet, the air bitterseet. Liz laughed, shrugged, and told us what a breeze labor and childbirth was. In the middle of the night, sharing her hospital bed with my brother-in-law Jeremy, she told me how she breathed through her contractions by counting in Romanian and clenching Jeremy’s hand. It was her way of relaxing and maintaining focus. She would sleep in between contractions and awaken to continue the counting. Then, “Leigh, ust a few pushes and she slid out, no big deal at all. No pain”. Liz had refused an epidural and other medical interventions and birthed her baby girl the way her body intended. I will never forget the look in her eyes when she told us this: strong, centered, proud, bare, primal yet serene. At 17, she suddenly had the look of a “mother”, a sage. She was still in “birth world” – not quite yet connected to this Earthly place and still reeling from the intimate connection and experience. I could almost taste the birth high in the room, and in a sense, seemed I was imposing on sacred ground. At this point, I had just began my research into natural birth and was so touched by Liz’ calm demeanor. After the birth, I asked her to recount her experience a few times, just so I could hear it. Just so I could confirm what I had always known deep withing: birth is normal, birth is natural, women are capable. At a mere 17 years of age, Liz taught me so much and was my first inspiration for natural birth.

I’m thinking about spaces. Spaces = life force. We met with our landscape architect today and I’m reeling. Two and a half hours later, I left his 600 sq. foot bungalow, built in 1935, and felt a renewed sense of excitement for our project. Our ideas meshed, he presented new options and creatively challenged our thoughts and plans. He totally “got” my passion for native planting and understood my desire for outdoor spaces that engage exploration and imagination while providing simplicity and serenity. I know this home in our minds will become a place of healing and cleansing for me. I await with great anticipation the first moment in which my bare feet sink unto the desert ground, smell the wet plants, and gaze at the outline of the trees through the moon’s shadow. I am ready for new spaces. I welcome new life force.

I’m thinking about familiy. My Mama leaves Phoenix to head back home to Indiana after 10 sumptuous days here. My heart is breaking. How I wish she could be here every night when I came home from work. I’d give anything to be able to eat dinner with my Mama whenever I wished. Much like me, my Mama is a homebody at heart. She cleaned my house, washed and sorted my laundry, organized Kaia’s room, got stains out of the carpet, made baby food, mopped the floors, and helped amuse and nurture our baby every single day. She watched TV with me and we made fun of commercials and people and topics. We shopped a little, ate a ton, and generally tried to solve all the world’s problems. My Mama is a “doer”, full of energy, but knows the value of a great nap. She raised 4 kids by herself and infused our childhoods with boundless fun. It’s nice to know that I don’t ever have to worry about my Mama skills, because she instilled the best in me. I want to sit on her lap and feel safe, the way only Mama’s can make you feel. At times, I hold my dear, teething, sobbing Kaia and feel my Mama’s love in my bones, my blood, my very cells. I feel reassured. Waking up the morning after my Mom leaves is always the roughest. I can still smell her clothes, her hairspray, her cooking, the smells of my childhood. I notice the way she put things away, folded clothes, and I try hard not to disturb them. She spent 10 days spoiling Kaia with love, love, love…and funny lullabies. I will miss her gentle, carefree spirit. I’ll even miss her worrying…

I am thinking about friendship and how my concept of it has morphed over the years. And just recently. I marvel at how one can feel connected to faceless strangers and yet so distant from close-held friends. It isn’t the years or the physical proximity that matter…there is so much more. Too much to write about at this moment. A topic I must ponder and explore. One that I always thought would truly be painless…

Lastly, I’m thinking about dreams. I had a recent one in which I was hangin’ with my buds Gwenyth and Angelie (Paltrow and Jolie, that is). They were pregnant. Angelina began sharing some of her concerns and worries with me about her pregnancy and birth. She was quiet, almost meek, which shocked me. But the energy surrounding her was pure and loving. To ease some of her concerns, I suggested she take a look at her growing baby. With some “dream magic”, I helped her gingerly pull her tiny, growing baby from her body, still connected to the cord. With tears on her face, she held the baby in the palm of her hands and looked up in sheer wonder and relief. “I can’t believe how perfect she is…fully formed and alive. She is healthy.” She brought the baby close to her cheeks and held it there for a few moments. I smiled and gently suggested we return the baby back to her protective womb to let her grow. Slowly, carefully, Angelina did just that and hugged me with intense gratitude. I told her “what a cool gal” she was and how I was so glad to know her. I awoke from the dream glowing. I still recall seeing that little baby in her hands…the skin was almost translucent and every body part was miniature and pefect. On one hand, I was scared to see this seemingly fragile being outside of it’s world. On the other hand, it felt like we were given the chance to peek inside a secret world and experience a miracle. Dreams. Strange and wonderful, exausting and exhilirating. Why Angelina? Why this little baby? What could I possibly have to teach Angelina?

On my mind…sleep…

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