Thursday, January 31, 2013

Welcome Hugo

 Hugo Campion

Born January 23, 2013

9 pounds, 1 ounce

Once again I am overwhelmed by the dignity of the human face: newly born, his person-hood is whole and complete, despite the fact that he has done nothing, said nothing. All is yet to come. "In my beginning is my end."

I see nothing in his face that reminds me of myself. I see only his father, and a person I don't know. Little man: you are so different from your sister. A quiet little brute, little lion. Her face was delicate, yours is wide. She was a storm, a fury, you are silent, still, skeptical. I wonder who you will become.

Once again I am left with my slack, after-baby body. Once again, the emotions, the exhaustion. But I am not overwhelmed this time, not surprised by the lack of sleep, my limp belly, the constant constant constant that is new-born care. Not shocked by the necessary stillness imposed by hours and hours of breastfeeding. I know all this, and I know all this will pass. I find I can wait in this moment, bear with it, savor the newness.


...from the Old High German word for "heart," "mind," or "spirit."

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind..."

the meaning of Hugo reminds me of the strange Old English word "mod," which, roughly translated means "heart, mind, spirit," but can also mean strength. Or courage. Or even pride--arrogance. It is the strength, the stuff at the heart of a man.


after Edmund Campion, English priest and martyr, one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, killed during the English Reformation. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lovely Mess and Slow

I almost cannot begin this post, so difficult it is for me to conjure words. Last night I spent twenty minutes trying to remember the word “redundant,” and could not. At some point late in pregnancy body, inertia, a slow instinct takes over. What is left of the energetic, at times frantic, nesting instinct of two weeks ago is past, or only exists in the form of a vague frustration as I look out of my huge body at partially completed projects. My messy daughter still playing in bed late in the morning. The raised beds outside, covered with snow, still full of dead vegetation I couldn't clear away in time. Bows and rnaments on tables and on the tree, yet to be taken down and stored. Little piles of toys to put away. Snow boots on the stairs.

My world is slowing, and I recognize the change in me: a change that will enable my body to birth this child. Not my mind. My mind can do nothing now. Survival and health are found now only in…eating, sleeping, growing, waiting, sweating.

Sometimes my mind tries to fight it. Am I ready for another baby? it thinks. Will I lose what I have with Hattie? When will I write? Will this baby be healthy? Will I love this baby too? Will I be able to get through this labor? Will I be able to sleep? Anxiety. Anxiety. The I MUST DO voice: “I must do the dishes. I must sweep the passage. I must organize the basement. I must plan the meals.” And yes, some things I must do. And doing is difficult. Feeding my family has become a task of epic proportion. Yet we must eat. My body demands: good food, clean sheets, a quiet room.

My body is teaching me what is necessary—to do, to left undone. I am leaving the small toys on the rug in the playroom. I am allowing myself to sleep in the afternoon, as the still-early sun sets.

Now I am listening to the air heat the house, listening to the dog snore. I am watching the snow melt into icicles off the roof of the garage, the pale light turn warm and gold on the bare trees outside. The antique glass in the dining room window warps the branches, marbles the sky.
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