Kaia, One Year


Oh my love, my one year old, my 12 moon girl,

I have been writing this letter to you since the day you were born.

In the instant I gazed at your pursed lips and your squinty moon eyes (just like mine), the letter began to write itself. It rose up through my body, like the smell of spiritual incense. It unfolded slowly and even cautiously at times. I had hoped it wouldn’t be all about me, but I admit you’ve taught me so much. You’ve been a gentle guide, a wondrous muse, a goddess of light, and a warrior of earth. Inspired by your intense presence, I have become a warrior of truth. Perhaps sometimes small truths, sometimes painful truths, but truths nonetheless. You have led me to my life’s work. You’ve led me to write again. In both of these lie treasures of truth, covered with the cool, living dirt of earth beneath our feet. They are begging to be uncovered, discovered, recovered.

It seems ridiculous to think that these words could even begin to surmise our journey together. Like the water you were to be born in, our twelve moons have been gentle and warm, soothing and unpredictable. They have renewed my spirit and massaged out lost, trapped, scared emotions that used to hide away, trying to remain tiny and unseen. Like a child afraid of the dark. But instead, I found I was actually afraid of my own light.

During labor on that July 4th, our communal force was overwhelming and supernatural. I, like a happy little surfer riding the waves alone in the middle of the bluest, widest, mother ocean. You, the destination the waves would carry me towards, the endless golden beach, warm and wet all at once. And when the waves had carried me far enough, we were to meet at the very edge of all we had ever known. At the edge of water and earth. Kaia Marin: “of the Earth, of the Sea”.

When you were born from my belly, my nerves came alive and fired furiously all over my body, even though my legs were numb. You were a tiny little fairy, a perfect slice of energy. You were the falling star I had kept in my pocket for a rainy day, lighting up the room. You were my firecracker. You were OM. You were the literal embodiment of the purest love your Daddy and I felt the first instant we met, and 10,000 instants later, and then at that very instant. And it was then that this letter began to be written.

At first, my letter was full of backspaces and deletes. Resisting the urge the “type over” your birth experience was tough. Don’t get my wrong; the joy and total love was still there, always there. Oh, so much love. But, how I wanted to be the perfect Mama for you. Oh, how I wanted the very first thing you saw to be my face, covered with the fine mist of water and sweat and happy tears. How I wanted the sweet, intense energy of the birthing altar we’d created for you at home be what welcomed you. I am confident I transferred that environment of powerful love and peace into my body, into the hospital, and into the hands of the doctor. So, really my love, it was indeed my trembling, grateful hands that lifted you from my womb. And, this is why my hands weren’t strapped down to the table in typical C-birth manner. Because the doctor knew I’d be needing them to welcome you.

I admit I had been overcome with a sea of emotions as this symbolic day, this anniversary, crept near. I had never been a symbolic person, but suddenly I knew I could not contain the desire to remember. I was compelled to relive that day. And why not? Your entry into this world changed my life, unleashed courage I never knew I had, reconnected me to those I cherish, and connected me to others I had only met during distant star travels (oh, how the heart remembers). I wrestled with the emotions of your birth all over again in the days preceding July 4th, the day we labored together so beautifully, and July 5th, the day you were to arrive in the wee hours of the morning.

On the day of July 4th, we took you to your Nana’s house to swim. To swim like you did in my belly that night, in the birthing tub. You spent two hours in that warm water and I knew what you were thinking. I was thinking it too. That evening, I held you close before I put you to bed. Your Daddy and I sat atop a boulder in our front yard watching the fireworks overhead. We held hands and I leaned on his shoulder. You were sound asleep. Finally, your Daddy wheeled your crib into our room so you could be close to us this night and retired to bed. And the moon called me, with a language of poems, outside. She was half-full, her perfectly pregnant silhouette bright and bold. My favorite moon. It was around 10:30 and I lowered my body onto the heat of the back patio, and began to reminisce.

The monsoon winds swept the desert landscape and blanketed my body in warmth. Lightening flashes reflected in the glass of our sliding door. The clouds, stacked and illuminated from behind, resembled a dark sturdy spine. No stars were visible. I remembered the tender, swaying flicker of the candles that night. I remembered the herbal smell of Marinah’s chapstick. I remembered the way your Daddy locked eyes with me as we released and moaned through the rushes that coursed within my vessel. In his eyes, I could spiral with my breath forever. I remember the sacred quiet, the gift of combined solitude and fellowship, the permission to be authentic, and the way time melted. I remember waiting, yearning to meet you, and never fearing you’d come exactly the way you wanted. I remember eating a bite of salmon, chomping into a Tootsie Roll pop, and downing Gatorade. I remember hands pressed confidently, gently, lovingly on my body. I remember sleeping – yes, sleeping – between the rushes of transition, curled in front of your Daddy. Glorious, sweet labor! Ethereal, ecstatic labor! I pine for it again.

As I watched the desert plants sway, I realized that all of nature was dancing, celebrating a birth. Their twigs reached out their arms and beckoned to me, bowed to me silently, like I was a goddess. Not in worship, but in understanding. Like namaste. Like my midwife, my husband, my friends did a year ago. Like I am called to do for others.

Even the birds chirped a happy song as the wind whipped and sounded through the leaves of the Palo Verde tree overhead. The fronds of the Palo Verde seemed mere inches from my face and swept back and forth across my body, in tune to the wind. That tree was my midwife, its braches her wise hands, caressing me with trust and kindness. The stars, one by one, began to appear like magic. Just beyond the tiled roof of our house I saw the moon. In her silvery night clouds was a form. Yes, the face of a child. My child. And then, I audibly gasped with a grin as the form changed and shifted slowly. I peered upon the shape of a women, ripe with child, thick with strong, pregnant thighs, arms crossed behind her, face gazing down. She held a secret, and a power, within her celestial body. I knew it was me and I shouted it out: “That’s me! That’s ME!”. Peace flowed from my head to my toes and tears were delicious on my cheeks. A spectator of the skies, I was not surprised as I watched her center expand, and open, and create a new space. She was birthing. I laughed at the thought that others would think I was surely crazy, that I must have “created” this vision in my mind. The thought was fleeting and insignificant. Ever so gently, I held this image as the clouds continued their movement and her form dissipated.

With the same force and intensity of the storm, my mood suddenly switched. I knew it was time for me to dance too. And at once, I was healed. Not in a miraculous sort of way, but in a way that made sense to me, that followed the eternal circle of space and time. I had witnessed myself, serene and light as air, birth among the stars. I was there, present and alive and aware. More importantly, you were safe, my sweet Kaia…your birth “a gift to the world”, as our divine mb shared just recently. And our moon, proving that we are born, perhaps, a little at time, day by day, moment by moment. Yes, proving that there have been times you’ve been born, your head resting in my hands, as your eyes give in to sleep…times you have been born at my breast at midnight, or in your Daddy’s arms in the salty sea. My love, you chose your first birth, a gift to the world. I really, really know that now.

That same night, as I wandered to bed rejuvenated and exhausted, I nestled your body between your Daddy and me to sleep. I needed you close, touching us in our bed as you would have a year ago, at home…brand new and lovely and pure. You slept there for a few hours. It was bliss.

The next morning, I dropped you off at Kimmy’s. My heart sank a bit, knowing I had to leave you on your birthday to go to work. But I knew she would love you, spoil you even, on this special day. After all, she has been doing that since I returned to work, against ever fiber in my motherly body, when you were four months old. You were in the hands of mother energy and wisdom. It was a pastoral, gray morning with delicate rain. Rain like tears, celebrating, joyful, remembering. The air seemed hushed and clean and the roads safe. A perfect day to honor your birth. So perfect, like you.

My Kaia, you are luminosity. Your true colors are the pure energy of indigo and the fire passion of red. Your toothy smile is like the satisfying first bite of a green, juicy apple. All my senses tingle with when I’m in your presence. I witness that way you experience this world with a genuine intrigue, and sometimes confusion. I love this newness, the way you feel this world so deeply, because it’s proof that that you have not been here before. Marinah knew this and wrote about it in your birth letter. And Jeanette knew this as she mentioned you were unlike your dear friends Sula and Julianna, souls who are visiting again. You, my sweet girl, are a newbie. Fresh as can be and so loving.

At one year old, you stand on your own now, but aren’t too interested in walking. Upon flinging your sippy cup from your high chair, you say “Uh Oh” and smirk. You play Pat-a-Cake with your dolls and mutter your version of “cat”. I almost had to hold my melting heart to keep it from sliding out when you began to point your tiny finger everywhere you wanted to go, at whatever you wanted to see. I can’t get enough of this game and we play it every single day. You quickly caught on to the “This Little Piggy” game and grab your toes with your hands when I start singing. My little veggie, remember that we say “…this little piggy had avocado”…

Honestly, my Kaia, you are becoming a little girl. I see it in your half-moon eyes, in the way you watch people, in the curl of your lip as you smile. The helpless little being I cradled in my arms a year ago has developed into a sensitive, vocal, strong-limbed girl that giggles at the sight of her puppy and makes my heart turn somersaults. I am quite happy that your soft, petite head still fits snugly in the palm of my hand. This helps me remember what I hope to never forget.

Kaia, with your help, I’ve loved deeper, cried harder, and listened more intently. I’ve changed some of my ways, revised others, and accepted even more. I have become a student of this universe, striving to become attuned to its messages and vibrations. I know I shall be a student forever.

Your birth made me vulnerable. Your birth made me a warrior. Today, I have courage. And with that courage, I post a poem about your birth, no longer scared to keep its light hidden. For, indeed, it is truth. It is You.

I love you. Thank you for one year and for a lifetime more. Namaste, namaste, namaste.



For Kaia, 3/4/06


I am not ashamed that I moaned, yesss

and sighed, mmmm

and breathed, ahhh

and grunted, ohhh

and slung my head back in raw ecstasy


my legs never so big and grounded, in water

my arms never so still, relenting

our trust in this process

exploded into pieces

in the room shared with sages who nodded together


my body hot, hot, red and ripe and carnal

and him, inside me again

with me, traveling

and her, a compressed energy

tiny, tiny but so mighty expanding me, connecting me


in unison she moved and pulsed with me

and slid, with force

and breathed, softly

and stretched, intentionally

and twisted, with keenness within my vessel


not scribbled with words like pain or permission

but by surges, unleashed

by waves, cresting

by compression, waxing

by sweet release, waning and rhythm like the samba


our divine and tangled dance, perfected over ages

learned in an instant

performed in a space

lit with stars and flames

and accompanied by the hum of the universe


my body was built for this, every roaring moment

on my hands and knees, like a child

bare, so shorn and open

so empowered and fragile

so manic and balanced and unapologetic


oh, the glory that came with standing warrior pose

like Athena born from

the head of Zeus fully grown

birthing myself with the awareness

that when I opened my eyes I’d still be alive


I am not ashamed of the pleasure

that encased me

of the noises

that shook me

of the union that moved us


to rapture.



5 Comments Add yours

  1. Maisha says:

    Leigh, I know we don’t know each other well but I feel so connected to you. I felt like I already knew you the moment we met. Your writing is amazing. I am in awe of your strength and your knowledge of self. I hope we will have more opportunities to work and play together. You are a are a wonderful addition to the ever growing circle of special women in my life. Thank you!

  2. Jeanette says:

    Oh my love, my love, my love. Your fresh little Kaia Papaya is soooooo….lucky to have found her way to you. I miss you like crazy.

    I love that poem, I want you to splash it here, there and everywhere.


  3. S says:

    Beautiful! Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl.

  4. marybeth says:

    oh wow. what a blessed little girl. when her eyes are ready to read that herself one day. wow. i wish i had a letter like that to read. maybe when she is 18 or 19, traveling throughout Bali learning to drum and dance like the natives…and you will send her that letter in a sealed red envelope. Or maybe when she is called to be a new womoon…the first time she releases her insides on her own special moon-time…or maybe when she first learns to read, sounding each word with her perfect shaped lips. whenever you share this with her will be perfect. you, as mother, as mother who truly has opened up to daughter…you, my friend, are helping to heal this world. one baby at a time.

  5. Brooke says:

    Leigh, I love how AWAKE you are. How awake and open to the process of walking the labyrinth from birth to motherhood. How willing you are to let the universe and your dreams and your memories and sensations communicate mysteries to you. One year on the other side of birth is not so long. I’ve said to you before that your wisdom and acceptance and healing has come so quickly. My guess is that your willingness to be so awake has allowed your healing to unfold…guided by your love and connection to your little moonbeam, fresh from the Universe straight to you. Like a newly hatched chick.

    And like MB said, your words to Kaia are such a gift. A gift to be shared one day so that your daughter has an archive of your love. A written history of what she holds in her heart after all the moments you will love her.

    Happy First Year to all three of you.
    much love,

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