Saturday, September 15, 2012
Yesterday, I had the deep visceral pleasure of meeting my friend Molly's five day old daughter, June. I hurried from the car to her front door, trying to balance my excitement with the chocolate birthday cake I had in tow. I hugged Molly, then hugged her mother, Toni. No sign of June, so I started describing something about the drive over. Toni interjected, "You've got to come see her!" I had assumed that a baby out of sight was a sleeping, off-limits baby. In we went to the tranquil, treehouse-like nursery and stood in silence for a minute, taking her in. The light from the window cast a crib slat pattern across the room, and made a silhouette of June's delicate profile on the blanket under her. The three of us gradually moved to sit in a little circle around her, and she slept peacefully through our conversation, the dog barking, and all the other extraneous noises that came and went. An occasional half smile flicked across her tiny face, and her hands moved intermittently between her sides and the general region of her mouth. As I sat watching June and listening to her birth story, many scenes and emotions from my memory bank of experiences emerged. Molly made mothering a newborn look easier than I remembered it feeling.
We had an experience of the opposite kind a few weeks ago when we visited Williams College, Alexi's alma mater. As we watched our boys race around the grassy lawns empty of students for the summer, it wasn't that difficult to envision the day when we'll take them to tour as prospective students.
This morning, Cal and Alexi left for hockey practice right after breakfast. I asked Abbott if he would be up for going running with me; he was. It took a few minutes of figuring to pace ourselves with each other in speed and stride. He's stronger than I realized. As we jogged side by side along the boulevard overlooking Elliott Bay, I got as much attention from the people we encountered, beaming at me, a mom out running with her ten year old son, as I used to when I was out walking with him as a newborn. My pride was akin to what it was in those days, too. We plodded along, chatting about the linguistics of the word 'downtown', making observations about the soccer game going on below the bridge we ran across, discussing a sign for an upcoming wild mushroom show and whether we might want to go foraging ourselves, and sometimes sharing silence. Our breathing and the pat-pat-pat of our sneakers were entrained as we took in the salty air and the sights of our neighborhood.