I'm such a space queen. May and Michael came out today for such a sweet visit and you know what? I forgot to take a picture. I thought about it so many times but we were just chatting and chatting and chatting and so I'd think, "Later," and then when they were driving off I remembered again but it was too late and I'm so sorry. May looked so beautiful today. Well, she always does but today she was wearing a pretty dress and red shoes and I gave her a little rose that she tucked into her beautiful hair and dammit, I wanted to take her picture.
But here's a picture of her and Maggie from a while back and it's sweet, two beauties for the price of one.
Of all the holidays it is my children's birthdays that are the ones that get me in the heart the strongest. Their births were, without a doubt, the most powerful and formative events of my life. I know I have forgotten many of the details of all of them but it's not just a matter of recalling those details, it's visceral memory that rests within my very bones and heart muscle that I recall. I don't know if this is true for all women. I suspect it is for many. But when a woman is allowed and able to birth without the aid of drugs or medical procedures in her own home she learns more about herself and her body and its strength and the strength of all women's bodies than she could possibly learn any other way. And the feeling of relief and joy and love that overcomes us when our babies are born- that second- is something we can never forget.
I will be that old lady in the nursing home happily holding a baby doll and I know it and I don't care.
And forty-two years ago today May was my baby. I've written before about how during my entire pregnancy with her I was so ashamed and so afraid because I knew without a doubt that there was no way I could love another baby as much as I loved my baby Hank who was, at the time, just a few weeks shy of being two-years old.
I could not discuss this with anyone. I could not admit this fear to anyone. I just couldn't.
And then...the second she was born, I learned more about the human heart's capacity for love than I ever could have imagined.
Thank you, my darling girl for teaching me that we can never have a finite amount of love which has to be shared. Each baby brings all of the love in the universe with her. Or him.
And all we have to do is open our arms. Our hearts have already been exploded with that love.
So this morning I got up and I made pancakes because I had half a leftover sweet potato and half a leftover banana and all of those blueberries and you can't let things like that go to waste. And after we ate I made two pies. One for May and a smaller one for us. They are lime/lemon/mango meringue pies with graham cracker crusts and I hope they are good. The mango is from puree that I've had frozen for a very long time that I'd made from Roseland mangos. I wasn't sure if it would still be good but yesterday I thawed it out and then drained the puree into a bowl, letting the sweet juice of it collect and I sipped some of it and it was the elixir of heaven and I knew the puree would be too.
After the pies were made I started in on the shrimp flautas I wanted to make for her and Michael to take home with them. I thawed shrimp and peeled it and cleaned it and cut it up and coated it with some olive oil and spices and peppers and garlic and then sauteed it quickly in a little butter and then made the thick sauce that it would go into. I folded the cooked shrimp into that and then rolled tortillas around it and fried them, then made the avocado sauce that goes over them.
It's an old, old recipe that a friend gave me when we were living on the property where May was born.
So the recipe is completely "inauthentic" in all ways. But hell, it's a good one and although I've always made it with chicken before, May doesn't eat chicken but does eat shrimp and so I changed it up a bit.
And then she and Michael got here after visiting her other parents and we walked around the garden and picked another gallon of green beans and visited the chickens and I gave May the dress I ordered her, a sort of dream dress of the softest floating white cotton. We sat on the porch and talked and talked and laughed and I was so happy to have her here. It's so funny how we have such completely different relationships with all of our kids, each special in its own way, and in so many ways, May and I are very much alike. I've often said that between the two of us, one of us is redundant but of course that's not really true although I think we do read each other's minds.
Is there anything better than being such good friends with our adult children?
If there is, I don't know about it.
And she brought me flowers.
Lord, I am a lucky mama.
We packed up green beans and squash and eggs and some blueberries for them to take home and I almost forgot to give her the flautas. I swear. I just remembered that I DID forget to give her a few books I wanted to pass on. But I pleaded with her to pick out a purse from my rack of many, many purses to take home with her. She's been carrying the same bag I found at a Goodwill about eight years ago and I thought she might be ready to try a new one. And she found a lovely red backpack purse that will hold anything and everything.
I asked if she wanted to take home some chickens but she didn't.
My only sadness is that we could not hug. My arms literally ache from the lack of holding my daughter close to me. While I was looking back through my pictures to find one of May to post, I could not believe the wealth we had just so short a time ago of being able to hold each other. The grandchildren hugging us, us hugging them, they hugging and kissing each other.
Well, at least we can still use words. At least we can still see each other. At least we are still here to do these things.
And we will never, not EVER, take those things for granted.
I can't wait until we can all give each other huge, strong, smushing-you-with-my-love, rib-bruising hugs.
Billy hugs. May hugs. All-of-us hugs.
Happy birthday, May. I love you so much.
Thank you for coming to see me. Thank you for coming to be my daughter all those years ago. As Ziggy told you once, "You sure have grown up good."
He should see you now.
my son's birthday was yesterday and I had the same worries about being able to love another child as much as I loved my two year old daughter and same same. happy birthday May.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful post, full of energy and memory. Yes, birthdays are massive memories of childbirth. My longed for baby was born at dawn. That first meeting when you fall in love. I never forget.ReplyDelete
Many happy returns of the day to May!ReplyDelete
And then you have grandchildren and the great expanse of that love continues to grow and swell for they come from what came from us.ReplyDelete
Each child's and grandchild's birthday tugs at my heart in the way that I suppose only another mother can understand. I'm glad you do.
Happy birthday to your darling girl! I'm glad you had such a nice visit.ReplyDelete
Happy birthday May! I know! I was sure there was not going to be enough to go around while waiting for my second child to be born. I remember so distinctly when Eden was lying on my chest after her speedy home birth and Maya got close to look at her sister. I felt a tearing in my chest and It was my heart expanding to let in the new baby. My heart grew bigger to hold more love. You know I know. Birth is the most powerful experience I've ever had. Unmedicated home birth, surrounded by those that love you. I hope I die that way too. Well, if ti hurts a lot, maybe some morphine. But I see my dear Maya holding my hand and Eden crying because they are both there. We don't get to choose that one either, dang it. Love you forever Mz Moon.ReplyDelete
PS Maggie is angelic, isn't she?ReplyDelete
I love you so much, my Mama. Thank you for teaching me about love. Thank you for teaching me about beauty and light. You are my always heart.ReplyDelete
Reading others' comments I guess "not having enough love for everyone" seems to be a common fear doesn't it. Although I loved my second one the instant he started growing in my belly I also worried I wouldn't have enough love to go around - but now we all know that's not the case don't we!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you and May and Michael had a good visit. This does seem like such a strange time, when we look back at pictures of not-so-long-ago and realize how different it was. All that physical contact. I think the handshake may be dead forever now!ReplyDelete
Mary! Omg you are the first person I’ve heard express exactly what I was feeling when I was pregnant with my second born, the shameful secret fear that I could never love another child as much as I loved my baby boy, and the my girl was born and I learned the same lesson you did, about the heart’s infinite capacity for love. I honestly think sometimes we are the same person.ReplyDelete