In the wake of Thanksgiving, I am still feeling gratitude for the big as well as the little blessings in my life.
Big things, like:
* The incredible gift of my sweet and luminous son, Jasper
* The steady love of my dearest dear, Lucas, and his unwavering presence as a father to our baby
* The endless support of our families who came to help us during the first weeks of Jasper's life
* The many post-partum meals contributed by our local community of friends
* Fresh food
* Clean water
And the little things, that in these post-partum days can feel like big things. Big-little steps taken towards re-normalizing my life post-Jasper's birth. Things that maybe other new moms are rushed into earlier than I because their partners have to go back to work or because their family and friends aren't able to help them out as much or because they have other children to tend to too. For my comparative lucky and slow movement back out of the fog, I am incredibly grateful. And so I find myself celebrating the little things, the little post-partum steps I have taken in the past few weeks off of the couch and out of the fog:
* Wearing earrings for the first time (yes, even this felt like a big deal at the time!)
* Taking a shower for the first time, with no one home but Jasper and me
* Preparing my own breakfast and lunch
* Helping to prepare dinner
* Preparing a pancake breakfast for my husband
* Sweeping the floors
* Cleaning the bathroom
* Driving myself and Jasper into town for the first time, with no one else accompanying us
And then there was the first time I drove myself into town for an appointment and left Jasper at home with his Daddy. I hesitated in the doorway for a number of minutes, tears brimming at my eyelids, feeling like something inside of me was being torn apart. Lucas held Jasper on the other side of the room, urging me on with his gentle smile. I trusted them both and knew they both had each other. I knew they would be fine, more than fine.
But what about me....would I be fine? Away from my baby for the first time in 11 months, for the first time since two cells met and married inside my body and our physical and emotional bond began?
Driving away from the house, I really felt the physicality of our emotional bond. I felt the invisible thread streaming out behind me, connecting me to him, tugging at me. No matter how far I drove on, it's presence was still there and still just as strong. And I knew it would always be there. That this drive away from him is one little step I will be making over and over again throughout his whole life. That we will always be connected this deeply, however subtly. That eventually he will be making this drive away from me, over and over and over and over. And whether he feels it or not as a rebellious teenager, I will always feels that thread running between us, heart to heart. Even then I am sure I will feel it tugging at me. I will want to retract the thread and pull him back closer to me, as I am sure my mother still wishes she could do with me to bring me home once and for all. And like her, I know I will eventually have to let it run loose, let the invisible thread unravel freely as far as it needs to go. Trusting that we will always be connected and always return in our own ways to each other.
And so another layer of the meaning and experience of "mother-love" is revealed to me. And I am grateful. Grateful for the heartache of separation that illuminates for me the invisible threads connecting every mother to every child. For that thread that connects me to my son, and the one that connects me to my mother.
When I returned that day, Jasper layed soundly asleep in his father's secure arms. They were fine. And I discovered that I was fine too.