many of you know my friend nina already – she’s the woman behind the poetry of her blog, and the poetry of her creations (i have several of her earrings and necklaces – all treasured possessions). one of the things i love about her (besides her charm – serious charm she has!), is her southern accent which always makes me feel settled and cozy around her and she has a dearness about her that radiates and comforts. i don’t get to see her very often but i always know i can trust her wisdom and her words. she is very very real, very very inspired, and i love how in tune she is to the love and life around her at all times. it’s the little things she sees. i love that about her.
she reached out to me recently with a lovely story of finding and declaring her own true this year. i asked if she would write a bit more and below are her words (and photos) that i’m so grateful for. also – notice the heart rocks. nina has inspired many many people, including myself, to search for heart rocks. i love this about her. and now i never ever go to the ocean shore without searching for them.
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks thinking all day of sweet Kelly Rae, thinking of her from across the country as she settles in to her new home, her new life in anticipation of her little boy barreling into her world. I was in Portland just after True was born, and was tempted, o! so tempted, to look up her house address and quietly drive by to see if a bow had been hung on her mailbox or front door. It’s a good thing I didn’t have my own car, it is a good thing that my days were full of teaching from morning ‘til night; I would have found it difficult, otherwise, to keep from hopping out of the car and sprinting up her porch steps with a riotous bunch of fresh flowers and a citrus-scented cake for tea in hand.
I remember those early chaotic days of new motherhood – the sleepless nights, the tendency to shift directly from elation to weepy despair within a moment’s breath – the hunger for adult conversation, balanced on the fine opposite end of the spectrum with a craving for peace, for quiet solitude. For a space to take a deep breath. For focus, for sanity. But goodness, new motherhood – such a beautiful time it truly is. I remember the way that the clock beside our ancient wooden bed glowed saint-like in the middle of the night, the way the hours radiated themselves into all that sleepy autumn dark. I remember the smell of our new baby boy’s neck, the way that it wrinkled in back just like the neck of a very fat and bald old man. Precious were those moments when Robin looked deep into my eyes while nursing and it was just the two of us holding warm and close in our own little world, just the two of us peering into one another’s heart and soul, sharing purest, unfiltered love. It wasn’t that long ago; it was twenty five years that evaporated, poof! just like that. It wasn’t long ago, it’s been a lifetime ever since.
When I read what John and Kelly Rae had decided to name their little boy, I recalled some words I’d written back on the first day of this year. It was in the deepest heart of winter, when days were their quietest, when outside colors were simple and stark, when mornings balanced evenly with evenings that fell quietly, early and fast. I had thought long and hard about what to choose for a word for this year – so many choices! So many words – and finally came up with True: “Last week, after hearing how I had hightailed it back home from Alabama on Christmas Eve, a wise friend and mentor wrote and said that perhaps I should name my home “True North”, for all the comfort that these four walls bring to me. I think that she is right, and after reading her words, I pulled out a lovely old compass that a student had given to me back in early April, a gift that was lost in travel for many months until i found it a few days ago. I’ve pondered these words, the true and the north, and have decided as well that my word for this year shall be “true”. It is a simple word, four short letters that rhyme with you, with blue, with new. My mantra has always been the words of Shakespeare, “to thine own self be true”, even when I’ve felt selfish or overly focused on myself while dealing with those who surround me. But truer words have never been spoken, and I will wear these words deep in my heart, will honor this word of truth from here on out. It is my beautiful word, this is so very true.” And now it is the name of a beautiful little boy, who has come out of everywhere into here, to show his mother and father a lovely thing about life, or two.
I want to share with the parents of True all the countless stories, all the things my two sons have taught me along the way; but who am I to tell them these tales, when they have their own wise little teacher showing them everything he knows, when they have that deep old soul named True to guide them along the path that is theirs, and only theirs? I want to tell them that each moment is a gift – that the exhaustion has its own beauty, its own holiness that will reveal itself with time. I want to tell them all of the wonderful ways that we, Robin’s dad and I, came into ourselves more and more and more with parenthood, that we gained depth and breadth and with all of that, we gained wisdom that has made us richer and richer with every passing year. Robin became a big brother when he was two months shy of two years; he scrambled up onto that hospital bed the late summer day that Roy was born, all blonde ringlets and dimpled elbows and knees, and went straight to Roy’s tiny star hands, stroking them and pointing with his own chubby fingers, sounding like the little bird for which he was named, chirping “Bebe’s hands! Bebe’s hands! Bebe’s hands!” over and over and over again. My little bird. My big Robin. Such a big man now, staking out new territory in the high rugged mountains of Colorado, while his little not-so-little brother Roy walks the waves of the Carolina coast. Still they are my beloved boys, big or small; still, I have the thumbnail-sized heart rocks that they began finding and giving to me when they were five and three; they find them on beaches, on trails at their feet, they pick them up, they pocket them, they send them to me still. We are a tiny family now, these two boys and I; we are so fiercely close from far away that it hurts sometimes to breathe, I love them so. I write this, and I sigh. We know this love, we mothers, all. We know the way it aches and tugs at our hearts, the feeling it makes when it radiates from out of our chests and into the room, where love is everything. It is everything, and this is the love song I wanted to share with Kelly Rae and John, the song about love and truth and life, the song that shall be called Baby Blue. Baby Blue, we sing for thee. For thee, we gather and sing. xo