Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Prayers For The Very Young

I have nursed the baby for the sixth or seventh time that day, and it is evening. I am holding her as close as I possibly can without harming her, her mouth open still against my nipple, a smooth slow of milk making it's way down her cheek. Her body is pressed against my abdomen; I am on my side and the sag of my stomach makes a soft pillow for her legs, her feet. She smells like earwax, baby shampoo, breastmilk and the sweet sweat of my baby. I inhale her over and over before calling to Mr. Curry. I hear him talking to Lola, then Dakota, then Ian, before he comes into the room and gently lifts Ever into his large workman's hands. He kisses me briefly and leaves. I am in the blue room alone, on the twin bed alone, listening to the house. Twilight is in the house and up against the walls. There are no lights on to manhandle the dusk. It sits pretty and soft and the blue is somehow part of the noise of our fan, turning it's head back and forth, back and forth: there is the blue, the fan, the children, my naked body on the bed, and twilight. I watch the shadows on the wall and remember what it was to be a little girl in my room watching shadows on my wall, remembering the peace that is special and one time only, the peace of not knowing about everything and only knowing your things: your family, your pain, your suffering, your love, your needs, your neighborhood. You do not know that in your state two families died that summer of carbon monoxide poisoning. You do not know that children are starving. You do not know about AIDS or cancer or the rate of child abuse in America. You don't even know that your dad owes money to the landlord, or that your own sister is hurting in silence. You have just realized this year that your body is yours alone, and in the tiny yellow prayer book your Nana gave you there is a poem that says something like Thank You God, For This Body You Gave Me and you found yourself inexplicably crying reading it, overwhelmed with gratitude for the Universal generosity which gave you this body, this life. It was your first conscious realization that you weren't alive before, but instead were somehow miraculously plucked from nowhere? somewhere? and given a body and a place to arrive. And now you are a grown woman, 36 years old, with four children of your own, all with their own walls, prayers and realizations. And once again you are overwhelmed with the enormity of the gift of life you have been given, and in the twilight and blue room with the fan nodding and nodding and the wind on your naked body your eyes fill with tears and your breath leaves with the light and you are hearing your family voice as you say a prayer of thanks for life.
I'm not religious, but I like God and he likes me. ~Tony Kushner, Angels in America
Lindsey said...

Oh, this made me gasp with it's beauty. Yes, yes - thank you for reminding me. Of then, of now, of the way time flows between them, and of my unceasing gratitude. Thank you. xoxo

Julia said...

Yes.

And from there, we grow. Both in body and spirit.

Petit fleur said...

I love you Maggie May.

xo

jennifer said...

so often, I've wanted to freeze time. to live a moment with my children forever. the ones when everything is so right & safe & simple.

Melinda Owens said...

So moving...I love these moments of enormous, stop dead in your tracks, beautiful, gratitude. The fullness of life. You painted this moment perfectly.

Wendy said...

So much can pass through our minds in those quiet, breathtaking moments. Catching it, writing it -- that is beautiful, hard work.

Ms. Moon said...

You remind me how to write.
Love...M

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

That our words are known before we even speak them..it is a powerful thing.

Beautiful. I loved this.

krista said...

"with walls of their very own"...this is the biggest mind blower for me. to think there is a lifetime of walls of their very own.

Steph(anie) said...

A-MEN

Hannah Stephenson said...

Gratitude is sacred. And I love that Kushner quote!

Darcy said...

i feel ur gratitude and also feel it too. the baby love. oh my gosh the baby love has torn my heart open :-)

Still Life With Coffee said...

Amen. Lovely. <3

Hannah Pratt said...

Beautiful.

Elizabeth @claritychaos said...

Maggie, this is so incredibly beautiful and such a description of what I remember girlhood to be.

Lone Star Ma said...

Yes.

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