Monday, June 2, 2008
How can it be?
The days and weeks have been piling up, and suddenly Auden is more than two months old.
Already, the day he was born has retreated in my memory, overplayed, a story of words now rather than visceral sensations. He is plump, smiling, growing more familiar with the world. Things seem utterly normal now -- he wears socks! we go to the grocery store! -- where they used to feel terrifying and sacred. I dress him in tidy little ensembles that belie the messy and primal way he entered into this world; the way we all enter, wet and new and smelling like blood.
Is it not still a miracle? Are we not still close to the source, two months out? But it is less raw, less remarkable somehow. I feel silly pining for those first tender days, especially when there is so much brightness in him now and so much clever mischief brewing -- but I can't help it. I could tell my birth story a hundred more times and still be amazed by it: the way I became a portal, the way all women are marked by this event and carry it with them always. I had not known this, but now I see it everywhere... Older women smile at me and ask about the baby, we nod knowingly, exchanging a quiet pride. I see how they still remember their story, how it transformed them, how they still delight in seeing a new mother emerging, wide-eyed.
I watch TV shows about babies being born, and lord help me, I cry every time.
This, from Annie Dillard, about the Obstetrical Ward:
"There might well be an old stone cairn in the hall by the elevators, or a well, or a ruined shrine wall where people still hear bells. Should we not remove our shoes, drink potions, take baths? For this is surely the wildest deep-sea vent on earth: This is where the people come out."
May it never cease to be amazing.