Saturday, April 10, 2010

Something from my heart: for Chanel

On the occasion of the birth of Josiah Obryant
April 7, 2010

It is hard for me to reconcile my memory
Of the young girl with the nappy hair
And the scruffy clothes
Who bounded into my life and stole my heart
All those years ago

With the vision of Woman
I now see
Propped up against pillows
In a hospital bed
Pale blue gown puddled around her voluminous belly
Baby clamped securely on one dark chocolate nipple

Just as you catch yourself on my name
          Miss Stonefield
As you knew it
My name when you and I bonded
In a chalk-dusty classroom
Full of books and music and loud, smelly children
So many years ago
And try to call me by a name more of a friend
Woman to woman

I catch myself on my memory of you
At nine years old
A child so lost and yet so available
To me, to my love, to my words

I have thought I might lose you 
Years passed in between
Without a call or an address
A stuttering connection
Blinking on, then off, then on again
But there existed a thread strong as spider’s silk
Connecting our two lives

And so I blink, seeing you today:
A woman, a mother, a friend
A child, a daughter, a friend

How is it possible that a child
So hungry for food and love
For someone to sweep the debris away and
Show her the path
How is it possible that that child
Would know
On her own
How to nurture
And to hold what is dear
And precious
To be gentle and tender
And speak the Lord’s prayer quietly over the phone
To a daughter about to go to sleep away from her mama
And new baby brother
Worrying about who will take care of them that night?

How did you become this woman?
How did I become so lucky
To hold your hand
As your baby was taken from your body
Lavender gray oily
Blood and life fluids still covering his soft flesh
To be a witness to the moment you first held him
You first kissed him
He first looked at you
And recognized that you were his mama

He blinked when he heard your voice

How did you arrive at this day knowing
How different a life could be
When a child is loved and held
With devotion and passion
Every moment of his life

How did you arrive
Full of that golden wonder and gratitude
For motherhood and babies’ toes
When your life was barren
Of a mother’s loving touch
And how strong you had to be to fill your own voids
To soothe yourself when you went to bed scared
And hungry
And even I didn’t realize how bad bad could be

How did I become so lucky
To hold your baby and bring him to your breast
To teach you once again
Something from my heart
To witness the strength rise in you
As he was nourished by your touch
By your breast
By your milky gold

Motherhood comes easily to you
I see it filling you to overflowing
Many things have come hard to you, but
Motherhood comes easily to you
More easily than anything else
Except love
And optimism

You open yourself to the possibilities
And they flow into your life
The milk lets down
The baby mews to suck
You fold your arms around him
Your life and hopes
Giving more to him
A hundredfold
Than what you ever got from your own mother

I realize now that that little girl still lives in you
As you dress your child
In brand new clothes
As you brush his silky curls
With a white bristled brush small enough to be made for a doll
You can’t stop touching him
Playing with him
Enjoying the feeling of being attached to
A life force so new and familiar

I see that little girl still hoping for a mother to change
Even as she shows she doesn’t know how to tell you she cares
Even if she does
We just assume she does
She’s a mother, your mother after all
And you are lightness
You are sunshine
You will be her role model

You surely are mine

You teach me about love
About strength
Optimism and determination
I won’t lose you again, Chanel
You won’t lose me either
Our bond made first in a grade school classroom
Was made tighter with the sharing of your birth miracle
I held your hand then
And now I hold it to my heart


Mia said...

I can't seem to read your blog without the tissue box handy! Bawling and touched again!

Rona said...

Whew! I am so glad it all worked out well and you got to be there with her. Your words and your amazing photographs once again remind us what life is really about. It's not about who wins on American Idol or the crazy TeaBaggers, but beautiful Chanel bringing a new life into the world.