Friday, August 8, 2008

Is this life, or is this being babylost?

I see these families, these children, once a year, and they amaze me. In the older years, they don't change as much from the end of August when I leave, until the next end of July when I arrive. At these ages, in fact, I am sometimes surprised that they have not changed: this eight year old I left, still seems eight when I come back, still running shirtless and tanned, with tiny grains of sand stuck to his shiny blond leghairs. But it's the babies that make me feel full of wonder, especially the spring ones, who were tiny little bundles of sleeping potential last summer, and now they blossom.

They toddle, and tip, wading in the water with delighted smiles, splashing and floating around in little inflatable ducks, and laughing on the slide. Their bodies are full and robust, and I look at them, and I think this: inside those bodies are functioning organs, hearts, and livers and kidneys and intestines and they all work, they have given this child growth and life. I see the child's body as this magnificent masterpiece, swelling and fulfilling the mystery of life before my very eyes. There is something about witnessing this amazing growth in 11-month increments that makes it all the more marvellous, seeing how people begin as these tiny, pulsing, beloved accessories and in the course of a year become fully-present human beings. Then a year after that, they can speak, and communicate, and run fast across the dewey morning grass, with the sun shining on their full heads of hair, independent in this fairy-land of children.

My children somehow know this is home. They don't ask about the things they've left behind, their cat, or rabbit, or their beds and toys back in the valley. They relish what is here, loving the tall, elegant trees, soaking up the beach, running on their sturdy little legs to greet family members returning from the beach or a casual game of tennis. There are so many people here who love them, who are amazed like I am at how they have grown, at their curiousity and enthusiasm. It makes my eyes sparkle to know that other people see them as I do.

And I wonder, if this span also made the jump from Charlotte to Liam seem more remarkable than it even was: that one summer I was caved in, lifeless, devoid of anything worth living for, and the next I was glowing, arms full of fat, baby boy. Did my joy for him seem even more unparalleled when it was seen in direct contrast with the woman who had left 11 months earlier, sullen and grey, hopeless and limp?


Heather said...

I love this post. Thanks.

Meg said...

You have such a wonderful way of looking at life! You make me appreciate my kids so much more and now when I look at them, I will see their beating hearts and living organs. Thank you for always putting into words love and life.
Enjoy your time at your house.

THAT GIRL said...

you are so good at putting into words the miracle of life, the complexity of it all...

reminds me of how i can monitor a baby at work, tucked away in her mothers womb... and then hours later see that same baby, whose heart I listened to so very closely, lay nestled in her mama's arms... amazing, really.

i also wanted to tell you how much i admire your work... for your first baby... the lives you touch because of her, the women you bring comfort to (because of her)... losing a baby is a lonely loss, and people like you make it not so lonely.