Today is Peter’s inside-out birthday. He is 39 weeks old and he spent 39 weeks in my womb. That day poised on the cusp of Scorpio and Sagittarius, when we journeyed quiet with excitement to the hospital, stands as the mirror between these two stretches of time. That morning, soft clouds touched the earth around our home. The sun was still bundled in the warmth of the trees on the eastern horizon when we rose, and carried our daughter to the car. My husband and I whispered to each other as we drove and our four-year-old slept in the back. My son slept sweetly too, in his home beneath my heart. Mere hours later, he was tugged out and placed on my collarbone, so that our first meeting was cheek-to-cheek. My arms were hooked up to needles, so I let my lips welcome him to my life, kissing his warm sticky face and whispering his name.
In the months that followed, Peter stayed close to my beating heart. He has been wrapped snug to my chest in the day, and curled into my side at night. Now, tiny as he is, I watch his smile break like light fingers through a cloud, and see his little hands reach out, and I know his story is just beginning. The birth portal closing. We stood at the edge of worlds he and I, and together stepped into the future. But while he is a surging aria in my life-song, I am merely the quiet opening notes to his.
He crawled for the first time last night, and I drew in breath like the crack of a drum. Emotion welled up and over me as he moved hand by knee by hand away from me. Our two souls dwelt inside the same body for a time, and after the tearing of the veil, we remained as a kind of one. But that circle is no longer closed. He is whole and wholly himself, and from here on our connection is something delicate and precious, because it is created anew each day, each moment. I have to chose him, again and again, and chose myself, and chose this moment.
The enormity of this weighs on me. Infinity stretches out in every direction. Outside my window the world is white. Our home is wrapped like a fragile parcel in the cottonwool mists of early spring. Buried in those mists are rolling valleys and mountain ranges. The day unfolds and the sun stirs beneath its fog blanket, so that soon I can see the veld, and then the dam at the bottom of our hill. The mists remaining on its shoreline are ghostly curtains. The water is smooth and black. A pair of blue cranes cross its surface like dancers on an eerie stage. In his first days earthside, my son and I journeyed together in this same soft cocoon, feeling time pass like something potent and alive. I felt small then, and very much not in control.
Those postpartum days spiraled out under their own direction, and all I could do was watch with due reverence as they played out. Here I sit today, tea mug steaming beside my keyboard, reedbuck grazing just beyond the fence, tractor humming on a distant field. My daughter is playing a game app under a sleeping bag on the couch, and my son naps on the chair beside her. There are tiny buds on the apple tree in the garden, and a dusting of blossoms on the peach. I am still small. And life swirls around me in a way I will never even fully comprehend, let alone design. Change is here again, and it seems there is some not-small measure of joy to be had in embracing it. In any event, what else can I do? This is not my show.
This post was written in exchange for a full-body massage and energy treatment by Colleen of the Midlands House of Healing, who has walked beside me throughout my son’s ‘in’ and his ‘out’. Colleen contacted me a few months after the birth of my first child. She had read my intermittent blogging, and wanted to start trading care for copy. I resisted her for a while. It is strange but true that first-time mothers do so often reject the care that they need. The afternoon I spent crying beneath a pin oak with a finally-sleeping baby in my arms, I called her back.
For three years, she has stood as a framework for my spiritual growth. My daughter grew; we built our own off-grid home; our business expanded, then shrank; I launched, founded, and then closed my own school; I made art and told stories; my son was planted as a tiny seed, and birthed into a beautiful human.
Colleen, thank you for your support and guidance. Thank you for standing strong in your own truth, and walking the path at your feet, and bringing your full heart to every task, every day and every moment, every client and friend.
Recently, change has swept Colleen up in its arms, as it is wont to do. At the end of this month she moves back to Cape Town, the city of her birth, childhood, and young adulthood. Her journey has taken her far and wide, and now loops back in that delicious way adventures do, just in time for spring. As Mother Nature’s lashes flutter against her cheek, and her arms stretch out in full sensual glory, Colleen and Willem will set up home and business once again, their stories all the richer.
If you are anywhere in and around Cape Town, do yourself a favor and contact Colleen on 084 603 0604 for energy and massage therapy.
Hello and welcome:) I am a South African artist and mama who believes in mindfulness and living on purpose. I love traveling, reading, yoga, leading our family business, and eating delicious food in beautiful places. And tea. I love tea. Pour yourself a cup and settle in for a read.