It’s been celebratory around here. Two birthdays in two weeks. Two little munchkin parties, cupcakes swirled high with sugary icing, tissue paper strewn about the house from gifts, and frilly dresses stained with neon blue popsicle drool.
My personal celebration always starts the night before your birth days, with the remembrance of how and when labor began. The smell of the heat rising from pavement in the desert summer. The quiet, humming voices on the other end of my phone offering encouragement and tender love. The slowly waning light behind the mountains. The early, giggling attempt to rest and cuddle together while small surges came and went like a soft wind. The warm trickle of the releasing of my waters – your waters. The cramps deep in my womb, the butterflies in my stomach, the deep cleansing breaths from my belly.
I can bring sensations back in almost an instant: the aroma of incense, the flicker and shadow play of candles, JP the dog curled on the floor as I swayed and sighed, my husband’s hand on my back, the simultaneous nod of midwives and doulas, the feel of just-washed sheets on my bed, the rumble of vomit signaling it’s imminent exit, the warm caress of water in the birth tub, the vibration of my low moans as I submerged my ears in water, the chants and momentary mantras, the lyrics repeating “returning to the mother of us all…”, the sips and gulps of cool drinks down my throat, the swirling of energy from The Source of It All, the flutter of eyelids as a surge began, the gush of fluid and blood and tears, the sinking of limbs and nerves and muscles into the mattress or floating on the ripples, the sterility of the OR, the comfort of home, the tugging and cutting, the satisfying stretching, the innate knowledge that you were moving down within my very core, the intensity of opening, OPENing, OPENING.
There were the mmmmm’s and ahhhhhh’s and oohhhhh’s and yes’s, and down’s, and baby’s, and I can do it’s, and Om’s, and wait baby wait’s. That first gaze that held 10,000 cryptic messages. The “this isn’t how I thought it would be” and the “this isn’t how I thought it would be!” The “I can’t believe you came that way…” and the “I can’t believe you came that way!” The welcome, baby, I’m so glad you are here. The love. Oh, the thick, thick love like pure syrup from the tap of my heart.
The beginning. The descent. The arrival. The ascent. The return. The end. The surrender. Back and forth again, all of it, a cycle, a spiral, an unfurling nautilus, a monsoon of breath and heaving body, a raging river of hormones and solidarity.
And so, Kaia, my celebration of you begins on July 4th when the first inkling that you’d be arriving soon began in my body.
Mostly, I remember the overarching innocence of your labor and birth. I remember the childlike joy in which I accepted it all, moment by moment, with open palms. You gifted me with an ease during your birth that was beyond all my wildest expectations.
I remember fireworks in the background and being so glad I was birthing you at home. You sent the dark-haired women to kneel beside our space as together we journeyed. You held the mirror of Authenticity in front of my sweaty and swollen face and the reflection back was my heart. I remember the overwhelming, suffocating despair when we had to transport to the hospital and I left behind all my hopes of birthing you at home. You see, I knew you were healthy and perfect and, of course, there was no emergency. But you had another plan for your beautiful birth and it was my sole job to listen. And together, with our gazes locked, your Daddy and I exchanged breath once more to welcome you into this world of gravity and hope.
You came forth from my belly, my sweet, and you were suddenly the entire world in the nook of my arms. There is a scar still there to prove it, one that feels the soft running of my fingers across it in reverence and sometimes very quiet grief. I still remember the feeling of being emptied of you. Someday, when you are older, I will talk with you as a woman about the numerous reasons your birth was the saddest and most heart-bursting happiest morning of my life (oh, nothing about YOU made me sad, though). Life can be that way, you know.
But, that first look…my god Kaia, it was exactly what I needed. Your eyes said “It’s okay, Mama. Birth is a Mystery and I am Birth and I am a Mystery. And all will be revealed as it needs to. And you.Can.Do.This.”
And now, you are Four. Wild as a coyote cavorting on the summit under a luminous harvest moon. Your sense of humor is wickedly witty and your heart knows absolutely no bounds. Sleep is your tried and true friend but you have to sweet talk (or fast talk?) her into your bed. You positively won’t wait for anybody and expect us all to wait for you. You listen and process and ask questions until the answer suits you. You intuit sadness, anger, disappointment, fear, enthusiasm, magic, and lies. You are electric. You rationalize like it’s nobody’s business. You challenge and puzzle. You bemuse and bemoan and bedazzle. You are that mirror. You write your name, make up songs, shake your booty to any beat, continually ask to “do something FUN!”, whip up picnics on the spot, talk in your sleep, find your way to our bed each night, and refuse to poop on the potty. Your temper is fast and vicious but so it your kindness.
Kaia Marin, of the Earth and of the Sea, thank you for the initiation of your birth. Thank you for my transformation from carefree Maiden to ever-morphing Mother. You keep me real, because you are real. Thank you for holding my hand through this life because I really love your soft hand in mine. Please, pretty please, accompany me through the next one. Happy four. Happy you. Happy love. Happy us. I love you with my every fiber.
My sweet, sweet baby Indigo. You are a WHOLE two years old…here. You are timeless and ageless elsewhere. (Did I tell you that last year on your birthday the moon hung in the sky like a drip of golden honey?)
The story of your coming began on the eve of the summer solstice, as night began to settle into the baking earth. Your sister was sleeping cozy in her bed, unaware that her world would be forever changed by your arrival just down the hall. All was right in my world that night. Your birth held many unknowns for me and strangely, there was much comfort in riding that swelling tide of Unknown, Unborn, Unbridled. Your birth kept me present; a struggle at times for me when all I wanted to do was defy gravity and fly away with you. You sent muses and guides that spoke in tongues I could not understand and yet it didn’t matter. I got the message: LET. GO.
And, Indi, we both let go. You squiremd and inched and rotated. And with that, I pulled myself to my feet and curled my toes into the carpet, and pushed your bum out of my widened body with slow (yet deft) focus and roaring fire. Your Daddy’s hands were waiting there to soften your exit and your blood-speckled body slid onto his strong forearms and he said with a soft and feeble lilt “Oh, Leigh, you did so good! A perfect baby!” I leaned onto the birth tub and sobbed. I sobbed out two years of waiting and one night of mourning and the blissful sudden knowledge of the perfection of four.
Four of us. You came to complete us. To bring us full circle. To circumnavigate the spectrum of emotions and energy and time and space to greet me in that very moment, just as I was. Laid bare and vast and watching blood run down my legs and onto the floor of our bedroom. Life blood. It was all okay.
I pulled you to my breast and sang to you as your blues stared quietly into mama’s browns. I laid hands upon every square inch of your skin in a matter of moments, knowing you instantaneously. My girl. My traveler. My healer.
At 12 hours from absolute start to finish, your birth was exactly half the length of Kaia’s birth. But equal in blessed power and sacred honor.
Indigo, you are two years old and you are my sparkler. You infuse our lives with sudden laughter and solemn wisdom. You are the gentle ebbing tide of the ocean. You are the lovely abandon that comes with the creation of new moments. You are a love note penned with the tip of an ink-stained peacock feather on rose scented parchment. You rip off your diapers when you are wet or poopy. You giggle in your sleep. You gallop when you run. With a chubby hand clasping a crayon, you draw circles and polka dots and mountain peaks. You are the bat that flies at night, traveling with the mystics as the veil of dark is lifted. You eat all of your food and then finish ours. Your hair is one great mess of barely-there dreadlocks when you wake up. You spill cups of juice and water on purpose. You clutch your blanket, picking the fuzz out contentedly, and still demand your binky. Your hugs are earth-shattering. You just began saying sentences and asking “Why?” You can throw mad-shocking tantrums and get your feelings hurt quite easily. You sleep in your own full sized bed and snooze through the night. You follow your sister around, indulging her in her own made-up games where she is always the boss. You snuggle me when I’m sad, touch my face gently, and know how to be sweetly quiet in the mornings if you are first to wake up.
I can barely breathe the sentence “Indigo is two” without wishing I could bottle you up forever just where and how you are. But I’d be denying the worlds so much verve – and you grand adventure – that I’d be deemed a sinner. Thank you for believing in me (you always do), for the sweetness of your spirit, and for dreamy naps next to your sweaty forehead. I love that you let me off scot-free daily, with no expectations of supermama. Because of you, I am enough.
I love you, baby girl.
Happy birthdays to my girlies. Born unto me by chance, luck, love, coincidence, design, purpose, reason, rhyme, or destiny. But not by accident.
Infinite and Always,