bottoms in the air

by bam

it wasn’t long ago, was it, that i was the mama, leaning in, looking into the sleeping place of my little one?

it wasn’t long ago, i swear, that i was the mama whose chest heaved a heart-filled sigh, that whirl of thanks for peace at last, peace short-lived, that rush of knock-me-over, make-me-wobbly love, that is the motherlove of a mama looking down on her restful, dreaming child.

bliss be ours, the ones with babies napping.

the baby isn’t mine this time. she’s my ella girl. my faraway love, the one i watch grow up through pictures, frames that sometimes nearly burst through my computer screen they are so filled with the lifeforce that is ella.

ella’s mama sent me this just the other day, and at once i was there, leaning over the rails of the crib my boys never once took to.

and yet, in the same swirl and whirl of heart and breath, it made me realize my days of leaning in, of breathing, catching breath while the baby sleeps, those days are gone for me……

and it made my chest pound hard, and heaviness drop down around my shoulders.

how swift the timeline sweeps. how soon we’ve made it past the days we thought would never end, the chasing and the diapers and the naps that won’t be taken, and the endless and sometimes sisyphean upside-down and inside-out repetition of the tasks.

but then, suddenly–and much beyond nearly all my peers, the ones who now show me pictures of their grandbabies, while i tend to spelling lists and the tying of shoelaces–i find i’ve passed the days i dreamed of. the days so sweet. so long and short at once.

i am now one rung out on the circle of new life. i stand behind the mamas young and fumbling. the ones trying to sort it out, make sense. the ones who stumble, cry, and wring their hands.

i am the silver-haired auntie, even if that hair is rumpled, wild, and most often unruly.

i’m caught short, my breath is too, by the finding out that life has passed in frames i can’t re-spool in real time.

from now on, the bottoms in the air, and the up and down of dozing babies’ chests, will be not ones that are mine to chase, to scrub, to know of every bump and rash.

i am slipping from that rare illuminated spot on the centerstage of life, the one where we move so fast we sometimes miss the poetry.

here i stand now, looking in on the ones who look in on their sleeping babes.

and from here, though, i feel the full force of the literature of life, as the chapters of my past come swirling at me, and in the distance that’s now mine, i discover stanzas and truths that once escaped me as i strained to merely catch my breath.

this time, looking in on the ones who look in, i am bathed in the tender wholeness of it all. and for that, despite the twinge and ache of grasping back through time, i know that i am blessed for having been there.

God bless the mamas, full of heart and wonder, as they strain to catch their breath.

a wee muse on moving on. as all around me this week i was filled with news of babies born, and babies reaching milestones, or simply snapshots of babes doing what they do so finely. and all of it made me miss those days, so long and not so long ago……

do you ache sometimes for the days, the hours, the moments, that have slipped away?

a bit of housekeeping: i’ve been washed over with a sense lately that i might need to pause my typing here sometime soon. i feel i’ve said plenty, and it might be time for quiet. i’m torn, of course. but this table has always honored seasons, and i am wondering if the season of quiet is upon me……

finally, a most blessed happy birthday to the mother of the bride out arizona way…..pjv, here’s to you, darlin. xoxoxo

p.s. i have come back to the table to take extra care of my most blessed little one. i have shrunken the snapshot above and blurred the edges, so you still might feel a touch of the innocence, the pure pang of heart i felt as i peeked in on her napping, but she is wrapped, i hope, in a blanket of safety. i want nothing less for my sweet one and those in whose arms she is cradled.