Wednesday, May 8, 2013

one year of loving Elwood

I've always had trouble writing about him, since the very beginning. With Ramona my love creates words, it creates stories. With Elwood my love creates silence. I think maybe it's because of my weak skills as a descriptive writer. When I think of him I think of the way things feel. Soft skin, the way it felt to kiss his nose above his binky, petting a closed eye with my thumb. With him there was no story, just me quietly feeling the way I feel. Just enjoying him. 

I always try to explain to people how he is a wonder of nature to me. Like a little fluff from a dandelion. This never makes sense, exactly.

But there are stories I can tell.

I didn’t get to hold him at first, the night he was born. The night he was born I had to wait. There was something they had to take care of, they would have to whisk him away for a second before I could hold him they warned me. I had to wait, and I held my breath and I tried to fill myself with patience. To be a good patient for Elwood on the night when he was born.

The night he was born I kept our news to myself. Waiting for day to announce the arrival of our sweet boy. I sent a picture to my waiting family. The hour still so small that it was hard to see him in his little bed. Something about this picture is magic to me. 
first picture

I didn’t let go of him the whole day. Our room was full of sunshine and I held him and loved him. He was the perfect baby. 

We named him Elwood Emory. A poet’s name. It is the most beautiful name I can think of for a boy.

I doubt I ever put him down. I nursed him and kissed him. I think it was my happiest day. 

When I think of Elwood as a very small baby, I think of his eyes closed tight. I think of my fingers running over his little face. I think of how he seemed to be so aware of me.

He slept against me in bed for the first few months, and I should be sad maybe, because I know I will never be as happy as I was in those very restful nights. I mothered him like a person who has never worried about anything in her life. I mothered him like the person I never knew I could be. Somehow this is still true. It is hard to feel anything but pleasure when I look at him still.

Elwood has been a salve on my heart. It is not necessary to wring the joy out of every moment. It is not necessary to be happy all the time. It is not necessary to feel any certain way about anything. It is not necessary to enjoy any moment more than the other. Once he was born I fell silent. I am not sure why. 

Is this sweet boy the fast track to enlightenment? Maybe. Maybe loving anyone is the fast track to enlightenment. 

I was made to wait the morning he was born. I was made to sit quiet, be patient, stay out of the way. 

I am still doing this.

Happy Birthday, sweet Elwood. You blond headed, sweet hearted, blue eyed boy. You are the peace of my heart. 

Elwood Emory Bradfield

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To Ramona, on her fourth birthday

Dear Ramona,

Today is your fourth birthday. This morning you stood on a chair and shouted, "I am four! I'm not nearly four, I'm not three. I'm four!"

ramona with wings
I feel like we met you in the last year. You are as wildly different from me as possible. You are so friendly and warm. You thrive on meeting new people. You jump into new situations with no hesitation  You are fearless and uncomplicated, and I'm like the best friend that quietly hangs in your shadow. I am not like you, but I like you.

This year was hard. You got a baby brother and you grew out of your baby-self. This was hard for you. And it was hard for me, and it was hard for daddy. I have been reading you since the moment you were born. I've been watching you, listening to you, learning you like someone would learn a new language or a holy book. I know that you are mostly reasonable and always loyal. You are wild and you are brave. You are not one to worry over stuff and you take things as the are.

I worry about how trusting you are, I am a person who worries. "Ramona, we never get in cars with strangers, right?" And you say to me, "Mom, nobody is going to steal anybody." And you know, you are probably right.

You are precious to me. Your life is a miracle to your family. It is my hope that four will bring you the joy you are expecting. Happy Birthday, Beautiful.