October 26, 2005 ~ To Capture Infinity
This past June, our cactus bloomed for the first time since we got it. It sent out a long, searching green shoot toward the windowpane, and the bud burst wide open, white petals tipped with pink and a core of bright yellow pollen. The flower looked incredibly delicate for such a bristly, hardy plant. It faded quickly, but for a few days it was brilliant, a rare fleeting moment of beauty.
A rare, fleeting moment of beauty that I was quick to capture with my camera, to save it, preserve it. And months later, share here.
And that is how moments of beauty are. They steal your breath with their brilliance then fade all too quickly. If you don't capture them, record them, it becomes harder and harder to share them.
I've missed the recording of so very many moments in the last several months. This entry is an endeavor to capture but a few.
The first time that Morgan felt the baby move from the outside, he pulled his hand back in shock. "That is SO WEIRD."
But his hand was back again soon, hoping to feel more. For the first time, he had solid proof that I wasn't just me anymore. Solid proof that that my brain is no longer in control of all that is contained in my body. There is another little consciousness, one that is growing and learning and experiencing and moving its little parts within the confines of "me." "SO WEIRD" indeed. But also so amazing. So incredible. Almost unbelievable. And so he tries to feel this "evidence" again. And again.
It is hard for him. The baby is an immediate reality for me--I have the constant reassurance of feeling movement myself, even provoking movement for encouragement if it has been too long between sensations. I can reach down and trace the various body parts of this little being with my hands. The head. The round curve of the bottom, followed by the spine. Sharp little pokes from feet. Sometimes, the baby hiccoughs (and sometimes even seems to get angry about that, wriggling and writhing and kicking my ribs in protest).
And so, Morgan lays his hand there, hoping for another sign from this child still inside me. He usually doesn't have to wait very long; this baby is incredibly active. Often it's not just kicks but large rolling movements, stretches, almost dances. I felt movement much earlier than I was supposed to be able to, too, but I know that it was the baby, for it felt just the same as it got stronger, unlike anything I'd ever felt before. One of my midwives said, "Well, I guess you're just very tuned in to this very wanted baby."
"What does that feel like, though, to you?" Morgan asks.
What is it like to have a baby moving within you, independent of your own movement? "The closest thing that I can think of to describe it," I answer, "is... Well. Have you ever held a days-old puppy or kitten close against your skin, nestled against you? It feels warm and squirmy like that, except inside of me instead of just against the skin."
The heart has become audible in the last few weeks by just laying an ear against my belly. Morgan listens carefully, still taken by that teeny tiny heart that isn't quite so teeny tiny any more.
Ah, and Morgan. Morgan has been incredible. From the very beginning, especially when the sciatica was giving me so many back and hip problems, he took over most of my share of the housework, taking up all of the cleaning jobs without complaint, making sure I didn't lift or bend in bad ways that would make things worse for me. We share in all of the preparations; he takes on all of the heavy work of preparing the house, gathering supplies. He helps me with massage when I need it, does favors for me before I even ask.
We both had fears in the first few months. Not about the baby--never like that. But about finances and other stupid, nagging surface insecurities. While the cause of those concerns are still present, we let them lie, let optimism take over. What else can we do but try our best and no longer worry about what we cannot change?
And it is that change which has been beautiful to watch in Morgan. Whenever I start to worry, he's there, reassuring me. "It'll work out. We'll make it work." I watch a father emerge in him, and my heart soars.
And his confidence in me is a constant buoy. Self-doubt is nearly impossible with such a strong presence to fall back on.
Before this child, I was completely content, fully joyous, in our love. I could not imagine a better marriage, a better mate. In the last several months, though, I have found that what feels like utter happiness can still be trumped by even greater bliss.
This child, the product of our love, our union, our devotion, has brought a new depth to our experience of one another that I could not imagine before and cannot describe now. A new tenderness more tender, a care more careful, a love more profound. What was before intangible emotion and spirit is now intensely physical and creative. The power of it all leaves me stunned and blushing.
Every evening, near bedtime we have a ritual. You cannot say the words "dinner chicken" in our house without causing an electric excitement to arch through the room, and if you say "dinner chicken" a second time to confirm that excitement, all hell breaks loose.
Morgan and I were sitting in the living room the other night, quietly reading with the dogs sleeping on the couches. Morgan looked up at me over his book with a knowing grin. "Dinner chicken?" he questioned. Both Monty and Rose bolted awake, ears up, fully alert.
"Dinner chicken!" I confirmed, and they leapt off the couches, big doggie grins on their faces and their tails wagging. Rose put her paws up on Morgan's lap and gave a howl to his face. Monty pranced across the room with his head and tail high then came and nuzzled his head into my lap still grinning away when I said, "dinner chicken!" yet again.
Morgan stood and stretched and the dogs pranced around the living room, playing and roughhousing with one another. I sat watching Monty with a huge smile on my face. Rose has always been a happy girl, even at the rescue, for she was placed still a puppy. But Monty had a sad history, some abuse and hard times. I can remember a time when he never played with anyone, when distrust and nervousness were his main emotions, when that beautiful grin was a rare sight. And now? Now extreme happiness was radiating from his eyes, his expression, his entire body language, and the tip of each and every strand of his fur. And moments like these are not at all rare for Monty now. His normal state is happy.
I sat there watching him, a lump in my throat. Love, a stable home, some human loyalty, these things had transformed Monty into the happy prancing animal I saw before me. I was reminded of a friend's remark, a few weeks before, when she came for dinner at our house. Observing the dogs, she said, "Oh, your house is already so full of love, these two are so lucky to have found you. And your house will be even happier, soon. What a beautiful place to be."
The amazing thing about love... Your heart can be bursting, stretched to its maximum, but then another creature in need of love comes along, and that stretched-to-the-max heart somehow, miraculously, stretches even more--doubles, triples in size. Love is a truly infinite resource.
Time, a sieve, the sand slips so quickly. In about a month, we will meet this new little person. A month! Only a month left to know this odd but comforting sensation of holding and nurturing another individual within myself. I try to burn my memories to a surface more permanent. Grasp each moment fiercely before it passes through the sieve and I forget.