Category Archives: Moms & Babes

In Movement, Goodbye for Now Ojai

Saturday afternoon found me flying solo at the coffee shop. Among the reader, writers, and chatters I noticed a man in the corner, eyes closed, face peacefully upturned to received the kiss of the gentle winter sun. He captivated me with his longing look of hopeful serenity. And then I had to smile. He was holding Total Freedom by Krishnamurti! Oh Ojai, no matter where I go, there you are…

I recall the dry, dusty smell of your valley after many hot months when even the moss in the swimming holes has moved on. And when, at last, the rain arrives, I pray it lingers long enough to wash that seemingly eternal dust from deeply worn crevasses in flesh and stone.

The heat’s expression is rivaled only by the intense solitude of the Ojai people – even those ‘social butterflies’ who meet each sunset at one or another gathering in yurts, temples, cafes or pubs. Artists and healers standing shoulder to shoulder; I could not escape the quietly frenetic turning, churning of so many souls longing and searching for their Great True Expression.

I mourn your mystical myriad flora and fauna here in the city, cannot find a fraction of the stars, and never hear my coyote family singing in the darkness. Tiny tears fall that I will not see them walking by my house or see the streetlight reflecting in their eyes as I say “hello, goodnight, brother”. The owls and frogs don not sing us lullabies. There are no poison oak to sternly remind me when I’ve gone off the path.

I grieve my friends who continue on with walks and potlucks. Their waterland smiles and supple bodies hug like the sea on a kind day. Sometimes it’s as if I’ve died or was never born. It’s as if the wind took me away like the jasmine in the heat, its smell so deeply penetrating in its subtlety, then gone. Just the memory of a flower. Just a delicate vine without sound.

And then I wake again to the bright sunlight of Denver, and it doesn’t scare me. Because I know it won’t burn my skin for months on end. The wind will come and pull a cold rush down upon my day, maybe even bring heavy snow or rain. And my lungs will open with the possibilities that change brings. My shoulders will drop into place and I will breathe. And tomorrow – or later today – the sun will return her rays again to warm my face. And I see that this, above everything, is why I’ve returned to this Rocky Mountain place. I am a mountain bird. My wings need wind and my heart needs change.

Here, 4000 feet above the nest, I rest my feathers in a city decorated with people of every shape, size, color, and background. We walk the paths of sun-speckled parks, raising our children side-by-side in grocery lines and on buses. The intense stillness of your world has been replaced by a humming, musical, collage of sounds, signs and colors. Here I feel free to be seen or invisible, whisper or scream.

Even in the safety of this new expanse, I appreciate the ‘cradle’. For, my daughter was born on your silent shores, Ojai. The insistent, persistent slowness of the vortex finally settled my heart and body enough to give birth. For this, I thank the stillness.The cosmic, collective movement resulting in this creature, Kiya, drew it’s momentum from a long, quiet exhale I could only take in Ojai.

In silence, each day, I return to you. In movement, each day, I say goodbye. And so, in this way, it is with you, Ojai, that I live and die.

Friends Make Change Easier

dsc_2295web3Sharing Kiya’s bloody lip ice pack

dsc_2297web4Kisses make booboos feel better

This last Halloween, Kiya’s friend Ruthie shared her extra fairy costume so they could both dress up for gym class. It’s a tiny tumblers for people 1.5 – 3 years old where little ones can run around and check out the gymnastic world. Ruthie loves it and sometimes Kiya does, too. They both really dig the trampoline!

These two photos remind me of how much each of them has changed in the last 10 months, and how much they’ve been through together: a dozen teeth, bumps, bruises, stolen toys and treats, endless disappointments from not getting what they want, missed naps, sun in the eyes on car rides, grumpy mommies, withheld breastfeeding moments, and so on. It’s hard being a small person, but it’s a lot easier and a lot more fun, too, with friends.

And that’s just one more gift Kiya and her friends have given me: community. We’re not alone on this human trip, even in our loneliest moments, and I’m so grateful for the loving wisdom and unexpected patience of friends.

When She’s Breathing

My sweet friend, Jennie, is resting now, breathing through contractions that come about 8-10 minutes apart. As her time to birth her child draws nearer, my own heart opens and softens to the Great Mystery that new life unfolds. Tears come, sorrow and joy fill my lungs, my nerves release excitement, fear, hope, expectation, all of these in waves of their own. Up and down. In and out. Over and over again in the part of life where there are no beginnings and nothing ever ends. It just keeps going.

We fear this open-endedness, most of us, but nowhere else is there found such abundant resolve, compassion, strength, love, and freedom. Such spaciousness. Because there’s no Where to go, no When to arrive, no How to do it correctly, and no Why to answer or explain. Everything just Is. It just is. We are just Here. Right now. Breathing. Being whatever, whomever, wherever we are. No one can solve or escape anything because nothing is wrong.

Jennie is so blessed to be in this realm, at home in the safe space she and her partner have created. She is so strong and so soft. It is Beauty beyond all that can be written. She is in the Wonder World where the midwives dwell. And I am so lucky to be here. Thank you, Jennie.

Our journeys are different, each woman and their child, and somehow, miraculously the same Universal trip. It brings my heart to gratitude for my own midwife and Midwives all. Below is a poem inspired by my own path with Kiya. I hope it gives a glimpse into the magic I’m blessed to witness now with this family.

“To My Midwife”

It’s just days away;
my baby’s first birthday.

To think, a year ago
we were on our way,
you and me and she and he,
to that magical Birthing Place

where caves of mothers-to-be
sing and laugh and cry and breathe.
And the Little Ones, pushing and turning,
make their brave way into Being.

And you and yours hold the space
for moms and dads and babes alike
as we find the rhythm and claim our place
among the Mothers, Fathers and Children of life.

Midwife, you nurture our wee ones
from belly and womb to the soft lit rooms
where you cradle their bodies with gentle hands,
bringing Ancient Mystery to our Everyday Lands.

But soon again, the Call becomes strong.
Then off you go from New Mother cove
following sounds of the next Birthing Song
and making your way down Midwifery Road.

So, now, as my Little One’s birthday arrives
I take a few moments while she sleeps
to feel again the magic of Birthing Time
still flowing through her and he and me.

I find myself grateful and a bit tearful, too.
For hello to my daughter meant goodbye to you.
But, I hold our journey in my heart – and try in my way –
to bring a little Midwifery Magic into her Everyday.

In the Waiting Time

We’re here in Corvallis with Jennie & Geoff awaiting the arrival of little bug Dalgas, their first child. Jennie’s belly looks full and beautiful, the rain comes and goes, trading places with snippets of sun and sheets of misty skies. It’s tranquil and lovely.

Meanwhile, Rock Band has established itself in the living room, leading Rob & Geoffrey on tour across Europe. Last night, Kiya finally realized she could join the guys and took up the bass. Here’s Jennie’s video clip of The Bibble Rockers on stage!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIcNe1s94Zk&hl=en&fs=1]

From the Old Blog

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A New Chapter

We moved last week. Our new home feels as full of Love as the last was with Struggle and Transition. We will undoubtedly thrive here, even amidst life’s inevitable changes.

And, the yard is incredible. A perfect place for a wedding.

Our busy schedules have already resumed though, leaving us to tackle the garage full of boxes in small pieces. There is so much history, most of it not really worth keeping. It’s hard for me to be present and positive sometimes. The experience leaves me at my edge a little too often these days. My perfectionistic inner critic has shown its familiar colors and my system’s worn down under the moment-to-moment stress of feeling I need to know what to do about everything all the time. I’ve been particularly thankful to my household lately for continuing to show me new ways of living and loving – from arranging furniture to resolving conflicts. It’s a blessed feeling.

As artwork is mounted on the walls and the dishwasher’s quirks are realized, we settle in. New sounds fill our ears. Strange little creatures like sticky fingered green frogs and red beetles wander through, letting us know we’ve entered a land already occupied. We are the newcomers here, left to adjust and make a space for ourselves.

Overall, I’m grateful to be in the Unfolding place again so soon. Each day gives me speckled memories of my first months with Kiya with everything full of potential, nothing tainted by bad feelings or unmet expectations. It’s the slow rhythm of fresh roots finding home in fertile soil, reaching for safety and sunlight with each breath.

A new life is blossoming here for all of us and I’m thrilled to see the many ways our Gifts and Dreams will be realized.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

KIYA.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Honor and Charge of the Mother

It’s easy at my age (36.9) to be pretty attached to having life on my terms and at my pace. I’ve gotten too much in the habit of grabbing control when I’m scared instead of letting go and slowing my pace until I meet life on “the level.” Having a little one to guide me with their gentle, wandering rhythm is the best thing that’s happened to my world. My daughter has been, consciously or not, leading the way from the beginning of our relationship. Without her direction, I would be lost in darkness, with no clue how to guide her through this life. It is the ultimate dance of intimacy, as far as I can see. Divinity works more clearly through my child than through anybody. I only have to look into her eyes and see the way she sees, then touch the way she does, and turn my head just as hers does, to find the world is still new.

Kiya’s soul has been communicating with me since about 9 weeks into my pregnancy. Her first definitive message came one afternoon just before I met with my massage client. I had just prepared my table with fresh sheets and was feeling nauseous as usual. Trying to have faith in the process, I’d been consciously avoiding asking Spirit any questions about the baby growing inside my body. But, curiosity and anxiety won out and, looking in mirror on my studio wall, I asked for a sign that things were going alright with the little one.

Suddenly, an overwhelming wave plowed me under and I found myself running for the door, hoping to get outside before the inevitable projectile vomiting covered the clean sheets with chewed up eggs and toast. A few minutes later, stumbling back into the studio, I heard a clear, genderless voice say to me, “Mother, please don’t ask me to assert my presence too often. It causes you pain.” Like a child to a parent, I responded with swollen face and watering eyes, “Okay. I’m sorry, I just got too curious.”

After that, I did my best to hold off, leaving most of the questions for my dream life, where I often saw a child who looked exactly like my daughter (only older) smiling at me, assuring me everything was, and would be, fine.

Tonight, I found myself reflecting on the families in my circle and how, by varying degrees, the fathers have become intimate caretakers for these little children while we women struggle to be present without losing ourselves completely to the roles we fear or suspect our predecessers have done for many generations. We want to connect deeply with our children, but fulfill our “missions” too, at the same time. It can be a tricky mess. I so badly want to do right by my daughter and also, by myself, if for no other reason than to lead by example.

But, leadership involves sacrifice. It’s not a message we like to hear. And, when we give earnestly of ourselves, taking on the duty that is ours and our birthright, we become Grown Women. We become stronger, healthier versions of ourselves. We become brighter lights for our daughters.

As she & I lay together tonight, I received another reminder from the beautiful soul that has come to live here as Kiya. She drifted off to sleep after a long day of picnics and errands under the glow of her little fairy night light, and I heard these words: “You are my Mother. You are to be there when I need you. For now, I need you above all else and like no other, for you are my Mother.” And, with that simple guidance, I felt the truth in my bones of what it is for me to be a mother.

It is the honor and charge of the mother to be there. To be there, arms to hold, tears to wipe, breasts to share, eyes to reassure and smile in the times when there are no words to explain and nothing to completely relieve the pain of life.

Right now, that may seem like a lot. Too much at times. But, what greater honor could ever come than to be someone’s wholly devoted one? To be completely there when they need you? And just for now. For they will, before long, go out into the world and find many others to meet them in ways you cannot. And someday soon, perhaps, you will feel lucky if they need you at all. You will feel grateful for the ways they appreciate you. You will hope deeply that they will take the time to reach into your life with words and hugs and kisses and touches to your face. You will feel that the sun shines brighter because you mean something to this very special being that is your child.

And so, while Kiya sleeps, I thank her soul and say a prayer to help me remember what an honor it is to be the one “who’s supposed to be there”.

To be inspired…

Nothing but Love really motivates me. I guess that’s why I look for it everywhere, in everything and everyone. The desire to live… love makes that happen for me.

Today is Rob’s 30th birthday. Again and again, he inspires me. To love. To create. To breathe. Thanks, Rob, for our baby girl. Thanks for motivating me.

And, now a word or two from little Kiya Rae….

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