A few night's S+ I sat with our backs against the couch in the living room as the sun set. Rowan was sleeping. The light blurred from yellow to purple to dark, and I lit a a tiny trayful of candles. The room and my hands still smelled clean and sweet from Rowan's bath and massage. We weren't ready to turn on the light. Outside, the palms and sweetgums blackened. I thought about how--even though I'll probably be awake at 2 a.m.--there's no way I'll actually make it outside to watch the meteor shower. And I didn't even worry about how that thought aged me.

Mostly I was thinking how great the light was. I clung to the mood, and I didn't want to turn on the lamp. The transition to night happened slow and smooth while we watched it.
So much unlike changing hemispheres and home overnight. Going from having a home to: uprooted. You can spend months knowing that you're about to move and change your life completely. But it's only visceral when that last flight takes off and touches down in your new local airport. You can feel the clods of earth still stuck to your toes. Those are the clods of familiarity, and they help you survive the replanting.

But my eight-month pregnant feet swelled to ham hocks on the flight over here. Soon afterward, we went from being two to being three. You can only prepare for motherhood so much. And you don't have to switch hemispheres for it to transform you, utterly. When a mama gives birth to her baby, she inevitably rebirths herself. Clumsy and shock-eyed at first, she quickly learns she's a superhero (however irritable she may be on occasion).
When we did turn on the light, it was time. The change felt right. But I wasn't ready to lose that connection with my husband. Sure, I wanted to blog. But we played Mancala instead, skipping the tie-breaker game, cuz Rowan woke up. That means Rowan slept for a couple of hours straight, which is very good for him! (It's really time for us to do something about his sleeping. I just don't know what we'll be able to handle, but that's another story.)

This post really doesn't have much of a point. Except to say how slow or fast things move. And that all this stuff happens whether we watch it or not. Ready or not.

How am I--all of a sudden--a mommy blogger? It infuses everything I do. I didn't intend that to happen on the blog, but here it is. Me and all my big fat motherhood. Maybe you can even feel it in my absences.

I don't think motherhood will obsess me forever. (Will it?) For now, it's what I breathe. We do other things too. Like go to dinner parties, celebrate tons of birthday, visit friends and try to get dance parties started by playing the right music, try to find a new place to live on craigslist, go for walks, listen to Pandora. It's just that Rowan is in all that, and in so much more--which is devoted only to him. 

I do like these kitchens and kitchen-cleaning tips. And I have to see this Oliver Voss statue, and read this book (coffee + book chick). And watch this movie (dolce vitae). But I guess I'd rather write about this huge transition I'm experiencing. It didn't transform me overnight. But day by day I feel myself blossoming. I'm more patient than I thought. And there's so much love. And in my finer moments, all love. It's kind of limitless.

I think it all started after we arrived to the States, and we entered a Motherhood maternity shop, and the woman greeted us warmly: Welcome to motherhood. On the inside I burst out sobbing and needed kleenex; on the outside I shuddered two fine tears and squeezed my husband's hand.

around the sun.

It’s a time of great change for our family, and I’m looking at it as a new leaf for me as I celebrate my life. Which is to say, I enjoy a birthday right after Linden. 

A year has zoomed by, and suddenly my baby is near toddling. It’s apropos that airplanes are Rowan’s favorite thing to draw right now (and for the past several months). For my birthday, he drew me airplanes. Serkan let me sleep in like a teenager, even though it meant we’d have to hike closer to home—not in the mountains as planned—and brave the midday heat. I awoke with a kiss on my cheek from Rowan and a happy birthday whisper-song, sung through a smile so long it tinied his eyes. 

We picked up some stone fruit from the farmer’s market on the way to the trail. We walked down down down to the American River. The trail was mostly shaded and we found a patch of shade by the river, where we ate hard boiled eggs, toast, peaches, and plums. Since we were totally alone, and it was hot, and it was my birthday, we skinny dipped. Cold! Refreshing. Rowan practiced pressing his face in the water, because he’s a penguin. Linden paddled the water with his hands and toes and stuffed his mouth with rocks and sticks at every turn. 

On the way back up up up the hill, Linden slept on me again. Rowan walked the whole way with a good attitude and kept step with his baba. We dropped the kids off with beautiful friends, and mama and baba enjoyed a peaceful, slow dinner. We talked about our dreams for the near future. How our journey to this crossroads has taught us about the kind of life we want to live. It’s exhilarating and deliberate, like leaping into an icy river (Inhale! Excite!) on a hot day (Exhale. Enter.). Breathe. Release.

one year.

Dear Linden,

Last night in the wee hours while I lay restless, you deep asleep on a separate pillow. From that distance I could still breathe in your sweetness, less sweaty tonight and more sweet. I thought about how I wished I’d planned a birthday party for you, I should have made you a doll, how I read more books with your brother. How I still read more books with your brother. How I just need to slow down.

A year ago today around this time, I was organizing your baby clothes and bringing them to our bedroom. Rowan sat on the floor with me and helped sort. You were eight days early; we weren’t quite ready. But everything about that morning spent nesting was slow. You were born into the water and into my arms. You spent the first few months mostly in my arms. I tried to remember how quickly it all seems to go.

When you were four months old, I started back to work. My chest tightens just to think of it. 4 months. You were just a baby! I’m lucky to work remotely, so I could still breastfeed frequently. And even then, to be apart already at 4 months is heart-wrenching. Your baba handled it with so much grace, and he still does. He wears you several times during the day, and you take half of your naps snuggled against his heart.

This year you visited Turkey and Wisconsin to meet the rest of your family. You learned to sit, turn over, and crawl, to pull yourself up and reach what you may. Anything in your path is quickly grabbed and thrown behind you, over and over again. You love knocking down anything that appears to be organized neatly. You bang everything together. In the music class we go to with Rowan, you follow what we do with the instruments and you dance.

You eat everything; it doesn’t matter if it’s food. Your pointer fingers find detritus on even the most well-vacuumed surfaces. Putting rocks in your mouth is a game to you. Over the past week or so I started to shake my head when the rock is making its way to your mouth, and sometimes you’ll put it back down instead. During meals, you show your excitement during blessing by banging on your high chair tray. Sometimes you’ll humor us with by giving the official “more” sign, but mostly you bang the table when you want more of something.

You make airplane and car noises just like Rowan. You love to be outside, to visit the chickens and point to the birds at the feeder. You love to climb stairs. And when you see an ungated stairway, you runcrawlrace to it with purpose. Your hands slap the floor quick quick quick as you squeal with delight. When you reach the stairs, you look back to us and laugh, just to make sure we are watching as you giggle your way up the stairs.

You love your big brother so much, you wave your arms and grunt when you see him. When we are reading books together and you want it to be in your mouth, Rowan brings you a board book to chew. He tells you what sounds each animal makes. He tries hard not to grab things from your hands, and when he does, he usually trades you a substitute. Rowan builds towers for you to knock down, and he tells you stories. He was the first to mention your birthday this morning: Today, is our little baby Linden one year? Aww you’re such a big baby, Linden! You’re not even a baby anymore. Oh my sweet boys. You’ll both always be my babies.

This morning, we measured you both against the wall in Rowan’s room. We hung the birthday bunting. Rowan and I wrapped your present together. I’ll assemble the lime cake with lavender whipped cream. It’s not as dense or as healthy as the cranberry bread cupcake Rowan had on his first birthday. But it’s probably more yummy. We’ll sing, and Rowan will help you blow out your single candle and open your package. We’ll watch the slide show of your birth that baba created for my birthday just in time for yours. (Thank you!) We’ll dance. We’ll take it slow. We’ll love. We’ll grow.

Happy birthday, sweet baby. Thank you for sharing your life with me. 


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