Several years ago my mother read a poem that I had written. And she looked up at me and said, "I can't believe that you came out of my body. I can't believe that I made something so incredible." Well, I was uncomfortable. My family and I have had a rough relationship in the past, and this particular moment happened a little too close to some Very Bad Things for me to take it at face value. I shrugged it off and moved on. My mother and father have said similar things as I've gotten older, and each time I brush it aside. I'm just not that spectacular.
I think everyone who reads me also reads Unwellness. So you've all read about Bri's tete a tete with Julia. So I guess I'm not violating her privacy by writing about my perspective on what happened. Still, I'm not sure what to say, though when I think of that moment all sorts of emotion wells up so I feel like I have to say something. If you're offended by mothers raving about the perfection of their children, you might want to skip this post. For I am about to lose all perspective on her perfection.
I can't believe that I helped make something so incredible as my daughter. And I am going to claim a small slice of credit. I truly believe that we called to our family an amazing soul. I believe that with all my heart. One of these days I'll blog my "blastocyst as vacuum" theory, but for now just know that I believe with everything inside me that Julia's soul CHOSE Kristin and I to be her parents. So there must be some part of me that is worthy of greatness because she chose to walk through this life with us. She is an amazing, wise, loving soul. AND I believe that the way we are raising her is working with what is innately within her to help her flower beautifully. This is where I take my credit. I am not a complete swine to her pearls. I (we) must be doing something right. This is why what my mother used to say bothers me so: I would not be who I am without her. She has a right to take some credit. Still, I now know the wonder of seeing my child go beyond anything I could have hoped for, and she's not even two years old yet.
I was worried about Bri. I was worried that bringing my child to the meet-up would hurt her. Bri's friendship, even though I had never met her in person, is precious to me, and I feel very protective of her, and it would hurt me to hurt her deliberately. But I couldn't come to NYC without my baby, and so I came to New York having accepted that my presence, and that of my daughter, might hurt my friend. I ached with that knowledge, and it nearly kept me from coming. But in the end I decided to let her be the judge of what she can and can't handle. I decided that if she limited her exposure to me and/or Julia that I wouldn't be hurt. I decided to trust that she knew what was best for her and that when she said it was ok that we come, that she meant it.
So, we came to New York. And I wasn't surprised that Bri kept her distance from the children. I was happy to see her and she seemed as composed as anyone could be under the circumstances. And then time whirled by as it does when one is overwhelmed. And the next thing I know Bri is holding Julia and tears are streaming down her face. I walked over there, concerned, not for Julia, but for Bri. Charlotte was there, and Bri gave me a watery smile as I approached. She told me that she'd tried to put Julia down but that Julia wouldn't let go. And then I noticed that Julia was clinging to Bri and rocking a little, back and forth. And under the noise I heard how Julia was humming to Bri. Suddenly the situation changed from Bri holding Julia, to Julia holding Bri. My sick, cranky, miserable, in-pain, give-me-all-the-toys-or-I'll-scream toddler had not only discerned the amount of pain within Bri, but was attempting to comfort her through that pain. She was trying to comfort Bri in the best way that she is comforted -- by holding her, by rocking her, by humming to her.
I was there. I saw it. It blew me away. My toddler, in the midst of her own pain, reached out to comfort a stranger in distress. Yes, Virginia, there is a Goddess. I saw her shining in my daughter that night. May I see her shining through many times more.
I can only hope that that is what my mother has seen shining through me. That even if I haven't been able to feel it at the time, there has been a touch of divinity within me. And I can only hope that as Julia gets older I'll be able to convey how much I learn from her, how blessed I consider myself, how amazing she truly is.
You know, without giving her a big head or anything.