When I was younger, there was a mulberry tree that grew down the street from our bright yellow house -- I use to pretend that our home was the Sun and it brightened the entire neighborhood -- anyway, this tree was the grown-up version of that childhood nursery rhyme. This 'mulberry bush' required climbing if you wanted the really good berries. The best ones always fell heavy on the ground which, in my young mind, were not to be trusted or hung high at the top and quickly napped* by the mouth of stingy, stingy sparrows. There is a similar one growing in my yard now. Moments ago, my son and I just ate perfectly ripen berries. It’s easy to appreciate something in the full bloom of its goodness. It’s easy to want more of it. I may get another in a minute though all that seems left between the ground, the birds and my hands are unripe bitter ones. I’ll search harder. I’ll scan the branches, climb a limb, reach higher knowing I might not find it today. When I was that little girl, particularly, and even just a few short years ago, I would feel the weight of the disappointment of trying so hard and coming off so completely empty handed. Now, I can linger in stillness near the tree knowing the deliciousness is coming if I’ll just allow the unripe its time. This draws my thoughts to my children.
I wanted to give birth naturally. With my first baby, the OB-GYN discouraged it. He gave me horrifying scenarios of women in the early 1900’s. It was the end of the 1980’s and I was smart enough to know that advances had been made in prenatal medicine so I concluded that he really felt that I would not be able to handle the pain. He was right. I lovingly blame it on my Lamaze coach, i.e. my grandmother, who attended classes with me. She’d rub my tummy, give me kisses, and completely ignore what she was being told to do. She had lost a baby in childbirth. As she would tell it, the nurse took her baby away without giving my grandmother so much as a glance. When she asked for the baby, she got a curt reply: Your baby is dead. The baby’s delivery was completely and sadly natural. So, when I went into labor and found my mind wanting to escape my body, all I could hear was her convincing herself: Everything is going to be just fine, Miya, the baby will be fine. The sweetness of her voice juxtaposed with the madness of the pain was fear-filled and worrisome. My then partner-in-this-crime-of-passion (we were not married, yet) had been away working during a portion of the classes so the hospital would not allow him in the delivery room. I remember a vain thought crossing my mind: I’m so glad he can’t see me like this. That was about the time the nurse took over. She gave me a "little something for pain" and set about the task of joining my mind and body into one…focus, breathe, focus, breathe…two words I still use to bring my mind and body together. Eventually, she said push and, a few short moments later, I was introduced to my baby girl. Suddenly, like an emotional epiphany, my soul joined the party, playful and ready for this new world I held in my arms while my grandmother beamed, relieved. Naturally.
I went on to give birth to three more beautiful healthy girls. Sandwiched in between is, equally beautiful, my son whom I must reach higher for, harder for and in his time will ripen into the full bloom of his already glorious goodness. In the meantime, I’ll appreciate all that he is in this moment and all the people, places and things that continue to manifest in this world that nurture his growth. But he is delicious 'as is'...and always will be.
*nabbed...unlike life, where one might make 'mistakes' then desire to return and remake those moments but find it impossible, blogging allows all kinds of tweaking even related to the beak-ing that happens in mine. Yikes, 'pp' vs 'bb'...hm?