[ A little baby bliss goes a long way. ]
Swinging in this tree, in this backyard, with this little boy on my lap takes me back to a place I’ve not been in awhile.
It takes me back to my childhood, to the days I spent lounging in the sun, reading Alice In Wonderland, climbing old trees and performing front handsprings for passing cars. It takes me back to a trampoline and the poetry I wrote about lilacs, reckless dreams and young love. About why and where and how I would become a writer one day when I grew up.
I don’t know when I grew up.
Sometimes I catch myself looking in the mirror with Henry resting on my hip, our reflections bouncing back at us. His round face and his round eyes patterned after mine and Joe’s and all the family members that came before us.
I look in the mirror at this baby with the big eyebrows and the big grin telling me that I’ve grown up. And I think: what and how will you grow up to be?
Sometimes I beat myself up about things. About not achieving enough. It irritates Joe. He likes to point out that I’m the kind of person who can’t see the forest through the trees.
He’s so right.
I’m the Little Picture Girl and he’s the Big Picture Boy.
But now we’ve got this baby and he’s got us wrapped around his pinkie finger. He’s turning the big pictures and the little pictures inside out and upside down.
We created him using nothing but biology and now the world is different. Or at least it’s different for us.
The day he was born was unlike any other day of my life. I can’t explain it. Everything looked strange and beautiful. Things I had seen one million times looked as they did the first time I saw them. Businesses we passed on our way home from the birth center, places I had entered dozens of times, looked brand new. The air smelled exotic. The traffic lights glittered. The sounds of cars and birds and airplanes were louder than ever before.
You know how you feel when you move somewhere new? Or when you’re on vacation and you pass through a place you’ve never been? How your senses are heightened and your brain feels sharper than it has in months or years?
That’s how I felt in the days following Henry’s birth.
I felt like I was on drugs. The high was so beautiful and intoxicating. It felt just like floating – yet I was in some of the worst physical pain of my life.
In those early days, the very tough early days of wrapping my head around the fact that I had brought a person into this world, I did something I don’t do often.
I saw the forest through the trees.
This week, while swinging in the backyard with Henry on my lap, I saw it again.
The sun was slicing through the oak leaves. The air was cool for the first time since March. The church bells were dinging and Henry was giggling.
We swung this way for an hour. Back and forth, back and forth. Me and Henry just looking at the forest through the trees.