At The Center

I am in a trance this week, a loop I fear I do not deserve. Too much love. Will it rot my teeth? I am beholden to this time, a debt perhaps from a different life, paid out now in sand dollars and sunsets and walks around the block. I knew in those winter months as I struggled to walk up the stairs and cried in the cold afternoon, that there would be a spring, and that you and I would come out and lie in the sun. I guess I just didn’t know it would be this beautiful.

I can only know this sweet calm because I have been on the razors edge of motherhood. Because I have been stretched thing and bled out and kept awake and pushed to the edges of my person. We earn this perspective.

Sometimes if you sleep well I have the strength, like now, to slip out of the room at 5am while it is still dark and make coffee and sit in my chair alone, like I once did every day. This view, the horizon line unchanging and the sea rolling in like a promise. So much has happened and changed in these years, and yet this view remains perfectly the same. The rocks at low tide and the swimmers at sunrise. The chalky sand cliffs kissed by watercolors. This small cut of shoreline. I miss it already and I am still here. I do not know who I will be without this place. But, I have wondered that before.

The colors outside change slowly and then all at once; from a deep black to a dawn blue, the earliest of light. So gradual you cannot pin the moment between night and morning. You change like this too, so slight I sometimes cannot see it until it has already taken place. I look over my shoulder and there is suddenly a new version of you. I marvel at you ability become. I hope you keep this. I hope in this way you are unlike me and that you can adapt and grow easily, that you can let things go. That you are more like the water than I am.

Sometimes you feel like a mirage; if I look too closely or hold you too tight I worry you will disappear. I whisper in your ear while we walk on the beach every morning. You calm instantly when I take you near the water. You are my son after all. We watch the waves one by one, and when the tide is low I stand among the rocks and you watch the sea grass sway and the light glitter off the tops of the caves. You fall asleep pressed against my chest, our hearts close again. I imagine the layers of myself walking on this same beach: long before when a child was just some wild idea, with us as one, and now us as we are two. We are becoming each our own more and more every day. I will never settle with the knowing that having a child means a constant trajectory away from one another: where we were once one path, we slowly diverge and will always continue to do so. Our orbit only expands. But that is also beautiful I suppose.

I think what this feeling is, is something more than nostalgia, which I have been known to suffer from almost chronically. This is a kind of understanding that what I am holding right now is so precious and so finite, that it is at the very core of our purpose in life. Have I reached the center of what it is to be human, and how long am I allowed to live here? What will I tell you about this place when we live somewhere else? Will I tell you that you were made with sea salt in your blood? Will I tell you about how cold the sand is in the morning before the sun? Or how how all we did this spring was watch the water come and go. Or how I taught you to measure time by the tides. If we leave will you later wonder why? And will I be able to remember who I am without this view? Will you remind me if I forget?

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