It's morning. I can hear the baby talking to herself through the plaster walls. Without looking at the baby monitor I know she's hauling the contents of her crib overboard. When I go to get her she'll be standing up in an almost-empty crib. And she'll be smiling.
For a minute I blink my eyes. I look over to see my good husband's face asleep. His hand might be on my back or shoulder. Sometimes he likes to touch me when he's sleeping.
And most likely there will be an Ever or and Erin between us--legs wrapped over my waist, mouth open, clutching a battered blanky, visiting after a moment of midnight peril. They sleep so much better in our bed, but we can't say the same. For us it's like sleeping with fitful, tempestuous octopuses. We've learned to overcome punches and kicks in the early hours of the night as well as how to heave thirty pounds of little girl back down the hall in a sleepy trance.
For a moment every morning I have to take a quick inventory of myself. First my body, how does it feel? Anything achy? Am I hungry? Am I tired? (Always a YES.) I can feel everything changing now that I am over a year postpartum. Energy is starting to soak back into my skin, I feel like I can glow again. I am no longer spilling over everything and everyone. I am returning to myself.
Then I check my heart. Am I happy? Can I get out of bed with a dose of hope? Am I ruining everything or am I making things better? What are my goals for the day? What do I believe in?
What do I believe in? The answer is living with awareness--awareness of relationships, the way Ever dances with her lips pouting and hands on her hips, the way the baby is starting to form her first words, the way Anson asks for my affection. I believe in listening to the mourning doves on the telephone wires in the earliest hours and the way Christopher's voice carries when he's directing four busy children into the bathtub. I believe in touch--giving and receiving--not only family but friends and dogs and rocks and grass underneath my feet. I believe in drinking as much water as I can in a day. I believe in stopping to smell my neighbor's roses as they bloom in variety on the edge of Birch Lane. I believe in listening to my spirit--a medium of spiritual bio-feedback--tell me I am fine. I am doing just fine. And sometimes, better than fine. But mostly just fine.
I've been waking up like this since I was a teenager--maybe I've been an AM inventorialist since earlier than that--but it has been in this late thirty-something I've realized a lot of what I considered belief and faith has stopped making sense to me. It hasn't been anything I've pursued, it's just has happened over time and space. My spirit seems to be waking me up now with an urgent message of divergence. The path I assumed I'd take for the rest of my life is disappearing and every morning I find it replaced with a new brick of understanding. I feel more alive.
I feel more alive.
I FEEL MORE ALIVE.
I feel awake.
My eyes open and I sit up. Stretching my arms high I rotate my head from side to side and stand up. I shuffle out my door and open the bedroom where my baby is singing in her empty crib. Stuffed animals and blankets spill out on to the floor, she's standing up with a full head of blonde curls. Her face looks up at me and like every morning at this early hour in our quiet house she smiles at me.
And I smile back.