Here goes yesterdays writing practice - Ageless: 15 years ago today I was at Abbot in labor with my tall, deep voiced boy. He was just a dream at that point and has transformed many times since then. Alan Watt says the reason we write is to evolve. That phrase always confused me. Although I am beginning to understand it better. We write in order to evolve. To change. To grow. To develop. And I have witnessed millions of different manifestations in my boy. So hard when he was born and didn't know how to nurse. He was perfectly happy just to feel and wave his little hands through the air. He was a dancer even then, so different than the way Otto holds his arms in, keeps them above his head, fists his hands. Henry's little palms were wide open and swishing through the air as if he were surprised to not find water and the pressing walls of an uterus. The crying four month old in Israel. The tantrumming 1 and 1/2 year old in the new house. The big brother after Nathalie. The school boy. The artist. The beauty boy. The 5th grader. Brutal. The middleschooler. No big deal. The highschooler. So tenuous and delicate. The urban boy. Fun. The 15 year old. Today.
Today I write about that first transformation. Birth and new mom-hood. From the nurse who said that you never take pitocin without pain meds. Just tell me I can't, bitch. To the other nurse who said she hoped when she had a baby her birth would be just like mine. Kindness. To that lazy little boy feeling the air. Just feeling. He was so him even before he transformed to the next him. He didn't nurse. Wasn't forceful enough. Didn't attack it. Needed to absorb it. As he does all things. Josh and I set up our little assembly line for midnight feedings. I pumped, Josh would receive the milk and then dropper it into a babybird mouth. It seemed like months of this. Introducing formula, said to change his gut forever. Heartbreak. I was so scared of doing things wrong. Not trying hard enough. Not being what I should be.
The question, was I doing this for him or for me? There it was, the crux of my transformation. Could I imagine being the mother of a bottle fed infant? When this got too hard for Josh, for Henry, could I stop and give in to what I very desperately didn't want to be? Were my aspirations of natural parenting, my image of the way motherhood should go, being tested? And what was the real lesson here, the real transformation. Could I recognize his needs beyond my own? This was my first lesson in parenthood (unless you count the pitocin and nurse incident - which of course you can). This transformation of ours was as much for me as it was for him. I cried alone in my room on my bed in between harrowing pumping/eye dropping sessions. We made the transformation to breastfeeding mother and child perhaps because I did face that a lot of me was wrapped up in what he did. It makes me grateful to remember how much responsibility he has had to bare. Unknowingly then. But maybe now he knows, now that he is this wise/caring little boy/big man.
I bow to the teacher in him. Thanks to Henry for the way you carry us all. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! To us both