On giving birth.
Growth-fostering relationships mean
we both get to develop
to our fullest, and
increasing the sense
between us is
You will have three children. You will have them in the morning and in the middle of the day and in the middle of the night. You will have them in a hospital, you will have them in a birthing center, you will have them at home. You will have them with screaming and moaning. You will have them in a meditative trance of quiet and peace. You will have them standing up and sitting up and lying down. You will have them both with and without medication. You will have them with red-faced strength. You will have them with focus and gratitude. You will cry to God when they are born. Thank you, thank you, God. Oh, thank you, thank you, God. You will lay them on your chest and nurse them right away and all the time. They will gain weight from day one and keep right on gaining. You will thank God again. Thank you, God. You will start thanking God every day. You will pack them in a sling, in a front pack, in a back pack. They won’t want to be put down. When they’re a little older, they’ll sample your recipes as they peek over your shoulder from the pack. Watch you chop vegetables and pour three glasses of water. Doze with their cheek smooshed up against the side rail as you run the vacuum. Bounce with your stride around the park. They will do everything.
And they will be everything. So much the center of your every decision that you won’t even know to say it out loud. Like water in a lake—you won’t think to wonder whether it might all suddenly fly up to the sky. Because some things just are. And so you’ll take 4,000 photos a day won’t want to let a single sideways glance to go by unnoticed. You’ll take them to the indoor pool. You’ll take them to the library. You’ll let them paint each other in the yard. You’ll read about childrearing. You are Your Child’s First Teacher. You’ll read for the long-term. 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. You’ll read Daniel Goleman and Rudolph Steiner and Maria Montessori. You’ll put bowls of glue in front of your toddlers just so they can experience it. You’ll walk and carry your tiny ones back through the fields for regular visits to Granny Apple Tree. Your little environmentalists will decide to clean up every piece of hundred-year old fencing that happens to be stuck in her branches. They’ll feel like superstars and you’ll all serenade Granny Apple with a poem before walking home with pants stuck full of thistle. It will be apparent to everyone who sees you who spends even a moment of time with you. She has such a gentle nature she’s so patient with her kids listen to the way she’s explaining that to him.
And that connection, the strongest connection of your life, will also be your weakest spot. There are at least two sides to everything you know, and it will be the perfect target it will be the bomb that explodes later in your heart. If you want to destroy someone, figure out what they love. Because not everyone who’s watching you will feel touched by what you do or how you do it. Some people are the kind you just can’t touch, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to read you. Sometimes it even seems they can read you better than you can read yourself. And so sometimes you’ll only understand after, by what they work to destroy, what has always looked to the rest of the world like your greatest strength. Then, and only then, you’ll be able to say, I was once really good at that.
And it meant more to me than anything, anything at all.
You might not be able to get that last part out.