May 2, 2017

Baby Girl

In the middle of April--all the leaves reaching up and out above the marsh, the ground covered with green shoots and blades, the air full of fresh breath, the sky blue with rain--our daughter was born. We named her Charlotte. And to us, she is sweeter than anything else that is clean and fragrant and hopeful this spring.

With my first child, words came naturally, and fast. I felt a need to say all the things, to record somehow the way I was feeling, the way it all seemed, how particular were the moments I spent getting to know him, getting to know myself as a mother, getting to know the newly defined world. I reread those musings now, and they still feel exactly right. I can remember who I was when I wrote them. I can remember how that version of the world felt, as viscerally as I can touch and sense my own skin.

But with this baby--there is less urgency. I'm not sure exactly why this is, as she will be my last child. I know she will never be eight pounds again, her days of being seven pounds already something that slipped away with April. I know there will come a day when I will realize her sounds are less murmurs and more requests. When her gaze is less dreamy and more direct. When her cheeks are not this impossible softness. I guess, this time, it is more about being still, being quiet with her, watching her eyes blink open and shut, thin petals blooming in my arms.

Tonight, the maple leaves are wide enough that they obscure everything but my neighbor's twinkling porch light. All winter I have watched its reflection in the ice and water of the marsh, a kind of star: Here a child would be born. Soon the leaves will wave so thickly that everything that came before them will be memory. Which is why, I think, I watch that shimmering light tonight upon the water, beautiful and mysterious, with me like this, in its perfect and transient form, right now.