we dug our hands into soft sand – fire-beach children. my son’s pudgy fingers pressing at the earth, my fingers dancing around shells/pockets full of waves and sunken bits of salt-treasure. we made a mound – a simple mound/a thrilling mound. decadent with shell bits, ornate with pearlescent rocks – simple colors/magnetic cream and golden hue – something found, something borrowed, something blue and black and hollow. a shell, a whisper/a flagpole at the top of a tower. a firmament – a creation – a castle – a mound – a pile of wet sand/a toddler. a dream afternoon – silence, the splash of the tide, the concoction of clouds in the sky – curdling into a late afternoon storm. gathering, gathering. the sky is gathering. our hands our gathering. sandrain, we dream a wish moment. we build the captain of this ship – a tiny sliver of shell. a broken home washed up on the shore. we gather, we gather. we dig our hands in. we wash with the waves. we wave with the current. we sit in the silence – in the crash – in the din – in the storm-gather. we are a pair of sand-children, we are a pair of silent eyes creating a thrilling mound. and watching it get washed back out to sunken bits of salt-treasure.
and when the moment comes, you’ll know it.
and the moment came. and I gave Jamie his last milk tonight. and i felt so fucking proud of myself. for breastfeeding him for 3 years straight. for giving it my all. for giving him everything. my body, my life, my time, my strength. and i felt sad. no, sad is not the word. simply overtaken. with the momentousness of raising a child in your hands. of holding him with patience until he is able to hold himself. in being able to give that to someone. in the gratitude i have that the best person i know in the world is my son. that i get to lie with him on the bed and look at his sleeping face and see this person that has come into the world. this fucking amazing human being. that will one day be a man of his own. that is already growing in to a boy of his own.
i promise to honor you. to stand by you. to try my best to give you my best. to remember you in innocence and know your truest heart. to keep my promises. to talk honestly and with patience. to be patient with you. to let the moments of your life unfold and to try to give you the foundation to be fearless. to be wide-eyed and full of light. the way you have been every single day of your life since you came in to my arms three years ago.
the moment came, and it was on a sun-dappled afternoon in july. it was warm breeze through the open summer window, it was 7-o-clock golden light dancing through the pane. it was the month you came tumbling in to this world. i finally pulled myself from your longing mouth. i saw how my body had grown yours, first inside of my skin, then outside. i saw how strong and true and beautiful you had grown. i let you lay there on the pillow next to me, blissful and dreaming. i let myself cry a few tears. i knew i had done well for you. i knew you were strong. and i knew i was strong, for walking the strange and lonely path i have to this moment. i cried because of the incredible journey we took to this moment. i cried because the moment was beautiful, because the moment was sad, because the moment was bittersweet. i cried because you were so beautiful lying there on the pillow. i cried because the moment was ending – because you are growing up – because i was able to pinpoint this moment along a constellation of moments that are before and in front – and that the train is going to keep barrelling – faster now, with your own stride and your own wings about to catch up with your body. and soon you will learn to flutter, to flap, to fly. and i will be floating here – frozen – on a bed, dappled inside the 7-o-clock summer sun. and you will never know this moment but in a primal ticking on the inside of your brain. and i wish you could conceive of how precious and sweet this part of life is – i wish we all could. i wish we could all remember it. honor it. hold on to it. make the glow of the summer hum through the window pane last and last and last. and here you are, lying on the bed now – so little, so big, all at once. i allowed myself to cry for only a moment. and then i curled myself off the bed and let you dream. and let you breathe. and let you grow. all by yourself.
how do you remain brave enough to feel it deeply, and strong enough to know when to come back up for air?
your skin so luminescent/mirrored pale and reverent/you splay in your car seat staring at the shapes that swallow the sidewalk – we bumble, we rush, we slide through the landscape; the landscape is glowing – satin pinks and lavender spines, trees curled in yellow fantasy. you are humming, your little hairs their own masterpiece. you are mumbling, i am learning always the depth of your spirit and wonder.
little one, i remember when you were womb-swimming and cotton-spun-spinning still, and i worried and i worried and i paralyzed myself with biological thoughts of fear. and the only thing that kept me strong, that kept we away from the black hole of SIDS, of birth defect guilt, of general new-mom psychosis was this image of you that i knew was true. i could feel you out in space somewhere – 24 years old, bold, beautiful, rock solid as an oak tree; burrowed on strong feet; a head filled with ideas; loving someone, maybe; someone loving you, maybe. i knew you’d be okay, no matter what…if i held on to this image in my head of the you that you are. of the life that you’re going to live when your identity is trickled out and seeping/ when you are no longer sleeping by my side. when you are just a memory of a little one and the true, strong picture in front of my eyes can hardly give way to this little splay of muscles and babyeyes. i saw you strong and living – a life of a man (or a woman) huddled on the horizon. i was giving birth to you; but more and less and less about me; more about you; a vessel for your entrance, for your creation. you are your own life, and when doubt and fear swallow me – i see you strong; maybe bigger than me now, firm and wide-eyed; full of wonder and maybe even your own beautiful heartbreak. and your own ways of coping with it. and your own tools, your own thoughts, your own vision. you are a life of your own.
care for children as the deepest souls; the most primal chunks of people’s brain wirings. care for children as magical beings in and of themselves/AND as the primeval seeds of magnificent full-fledged human beings. but they are more than seeds – this image too, is reductive. they are not latent somethings for the future, they are something present here. with their own wisdom, their own existences (fleeting, faster than death; the baby jamie, the jamie at 1, the jamie at 2, all different beings, all one being). they are something here and they are something there. time is a paragon of shapes and keep reminding yourself of the splay of the circle – of all the points laying against one another and not just this one, but how this one fits into this one and this one and this one and that one and how they are all real. they are all meaningful. they are all powerful. they are all magnificent. and they are all people. they are all their own life. not a strange creature come to annoy you or destabilize your precious life and timeline. they are their own life curled around your timeline in the most profound way. the deepest friends. the strangest wanderers. that we will know and know and know more intimately and uniquely than anyone else. because they showed us all the pieces of themselves wrapped inside the other pieces. they showed us the wide open gaseous landscapes of their most honest hearts. their true self within their true self within their true self.
i love children because there’s so much more truth. because social constructs have not begun to constrict and conflict and contort and generally bamboozle the wild fire that sometimes is so hard to feel burning in an adult. whoever said adult life was more interesting than a child’s magnificent world of splaying wonder? fuck the fantasy of adult supremacy – we lose so much when we enter the conditioning treatment of society. and so many falsehoods and so many plays and so much theatrics and so many postures and so much distance we travel from our true, open, brave hearts. for what? for what? the sham of the sham that we all lie to each other and say is more interesting, more true, more fulfilling than the honest, open heart we were born with. we learn to cover, we learn to hide, we learn to subdue, to stuff, to slink away. and why the fuck is that so great? why the fuck?
keep the intellectual growth, the complexity of understanding, the fascinating world of symbols and meanings, but also please, let us learn how to retain the wild fire. please, let us learn how to retain our bravery, our open hearts, our willingness to live, our fearlessness in discovery, our organic and ever-present ability to feel, to commit to feeling. to commit to life.
keep the magic, fuck the pretension. follow the growth – forget the contrivances, the cages, the constructs.
and surely, the windows and winds will keep billowing. muddy tracks, muddy hands, two year old fervor. fire in the blaze, fire in the hunger, fire in the river. fire, fire, little boys are full of fire. water, water, little boys are full of lakes. full of worms and sticks and stones. full of urge and surges of soul. full of hair, my little one is. full of wilderness and all things bold and fearless. full of fear and irrationality, this is the way the world unfolds. this is the way the world unfolds.