Monday, January 6, 2014
I've been a hot mess of hormonal emotions lately, one minute floating on cloud nine and the next, bursting into tears at an Apple commercial on TV. You know the one I'm talking about - the angsty teenage boy seemingly ignoring his family during the holidays only to later discover he's been using his phone to capture video of the little things - a Grandpa stealing a kiss from his wife, an icicle falling off a garland-wrapped porch, a little girl in pajamas studying a sparkly ornament on the tree...every time I see the thing I cry like a baby.
Or I guess I should say a woman about to have a baby.
Beau has been playing guitar for a little over a year now and it's been a rewarding journey getting to be along for the ride (except for the fact that Simple Song by The Shins or Neil Young's, Heart of Gold, aka, the first two songs he learned to play now sound like nails on a chalkboard to me). It's amazing to me how much he's learned in one year and to see tangible evidence of his growth through the many songs he strums throughout the day. I've watched him find comfort in a few songs he can now play with ease...The Black Crows’, She Talks to Angels, Hey Ho by the Lumineers, Jack Johnson's, Do You Remember, Oasis', Wonderwall --- the songs that make him sound and look like a guitarist who's been playing for years. But lately, he's felt called and challenged to put his own music together - learning which chords work together to make a rhythm and ultimately a song that flows like the ones he plays so effortlessly. It is here I see a different guitarist emerge - one unsure of what he is doing and easily frustrated when the rhythm doesn't come as smoothly as he'd like. Instead of the ease of playing the songs he's learned from experience, he's now the novice, trying and failing and retrying again. And it's in this place I see a guitarist.
With just about a week to go until we do this thing again, I find myself with one foot in two different worlds - half of me sits strumming those songs I know so well - comfortable, content, and happy in the reality I'm known for the past three years. I am confident in this place, sure of what I can do, with ease in what I've learned to expect. And then there's the other side. In a matter of two weeks, we will be on a new adventure of loving and raising not one, but two little souls. I am ready to feel that first contraction, to experience childbirth all over again, and to hold and kiss my baby girl for the very first time; however, I am aware that things will never look as they do right now. The rhythm I've learned to play so well for the last three years is about to become a new song, one that I'm not sure how to play.
Having this baby right before the holidays was a test for me. My mind was constantly racing, trying to prepare for the holidays while knowing that I had much more to prepare for before I felt ready to bring a baby home. My thought process was that if I could just feel ready here at home, I'd feel ready in all other parts of my life, too. I wanted sheet music...if I could just have a script, a piece of music that would guide me and help me understand what this is all going to look like, I would feel that much more prepared for what life looks like on the other side.
But a true artist will only feel challenged for so long when they have a piece of music in front of them. It's times when the canvas is completely blank that the most beauty is revealed. It's moments when we find ourselves stripped bare of what we know that we discover what we didn't even know we were capable of. It's about embracing the challenge, the adventure, knowing that mistakes will be made, but that if you keep seeking to grow and become a better version of yourself, more beauty is always at the end, whether it's a song, a piece of artwork, or those first, very raw, very real moments of parenthood.
Seeing my baby girl on the ultrasound screen was surreal. There she was, as if she was just waiting for us. For nine months, I've carried this little person inside of me. This little girl who has been with me every step of the way since I discovered I was pregnant with her in May. I’ve grown closer with every kick, every hiccup, and the bond I feel with her is fierce. There is a different weight of carrying a daughter - a young girl who will grow up in a world of expectations, uncertainty, and the desire to follow a script of how things should go and what they should look like. And I want to be a model that shows otherwise. A model that embraces the uncertainty and looks for the beauty in it. A model that chooses a blank canvas instead of the script that's so often followed. A model that lives deeply and drinks up the beauty of this place, no matter what it looks like.
As we enter this new phase of raising two kids, of balancing attention, and finding a new rhythm as a family, there is a lot I am uncertain of. Just as I experienced with Cruz, there are bound to be new feelings I'm not prepared for. We will make mistakes, we will feel stretched and guilty and exhausted. But one thing I am certain of is that there will be so much love. That raw, messy, exhausted, amazing love that exists in those first few weeks of bringing a baby home to your family. I am ready to let go and let grace fill our house in the form of a newborn baby.
This next week, I want to soak up every last stretch and hiccup. I want to squeeze Cruz and play hard. And I want to be a seed in the wind - with faith and contentedness not in what I am able to control, but in the beauty of a song about to be written.
On Christmas night, Beau surprised me with a song he wrote for me. For the past several weeks, he's been retiring to the cold garage after I've went to bed with the goal of capturing our story and this particular stage we are in through his own music and lyrics. And in the quiet living room surrounded by Christmas lights, he sang it for me. And with tears running down my face, I felt so lucky to be writing our song together.
We are just days away from one of the happiest, most meaningful days of our life and I am so blessed to be in this place.
pictures courtesy of At Play Photo, November 2013.