She is heavier each day, not from the food making her so beautifully stout, but her ability to trust. As we cherish, she arrives more. Letting go into the temporary peace the State awarded her, the air around her moves differently. No more hiding, she fills a room with her presence. Our foster guest arrived on our doorstep a few days new to this world, we’ve finally reached the after-six-weeks-now-I’ll-let-you-sleep-a-little milestone. She knows that here she is safe, she has landed.
We adjust down. Yank out this maybe, remove the for-sure-drop-dead-has-to-happen plan. Like a rope to the moon, tomorrow gets pulled closer each moment, until we finally sit as a family in NOW. There is no more room left in the day. This morning I found my first moment of balance since before Christmas. Turns out it was lost under a pile of diapers and dirty bottles.
I’m only the plan B of her days, filling in the gaps when Momma is busy or tired or lately-sick. Momma must hold tight, but be ready to let go. She must love her as if she gave birth to her, but she cannot claim her. Momma carries the weight of many worlds on her shoulders. Her journey with this newborn is so profound we can’t even discuss it. Maybe some day.
My all night sessions with the baby take place only every two or three days, I have room to enjoy them. I love to float her a few inches above the bed as she takes her post feeding victory stretch. That elastic spine curves, fists point to the ends of the universe as toes reach to meet them the long way around. She is a champion of each moment, her cells radiating more and more light in the darkness.
She is the fourth child not biologically related to me I’ve taken into my heart and home. I never knew this would be so much a part of my path, loving other peoples children as my own, sometimes to call them son or daughter, sometimes not (we won’t know her future for many months). I really don’t know if its easier or harder than raising any other child. I see their paths spread out before me like spider webs into the night sky. Endless and forever, yet delicately intimate. They were never mine and mine alone (are they ever?), the important thing is that they know who they are, that they can feel their own spirit. I think that, and a lot of love and food, is what I can help them with.
Parenting is filled with Alchemy: Amalgamation (blending of two or more), Calcination (heating to dust – grinding the self away through caring for another), Conjunction (two materials make a whole – the family – greater than the sum of its elements), Purification (stripping away the individual self before the role of parent) etc etc. What all of this means is that if you take her into your heart, hold her a few inches above the down comforter and celebrate the sweetness of her belly-warm satisfaction, you will be remade. It is inevitable. I don’t know if I’m better for it, but my body will go back to the soil with less resistance and much more joy. I suppose that equals better for me.
I become an ancestor to her if only for a moment. I reach my hand out to hers, we join and pull together, then another hand reaches out to us. The circle grows. Adjusting down is always trading up, thats what this new life can teach us. This morning at 4 AM new ancestry was woven, and I got some sleep too. Not a bad deal.