I’m coming to you today from my bed at 8:30 pm. Let me set the scene. It’s dusk outside, and so hot it makes my ears ring. I have a fan pumping air at me on medium, so I can still feel relatively sane but I’m not in a wind tunnel.
I’m worn out. This seems like the story of my life. So I won’t bore you with the specific details right now.
Let me instead tell you about yesterday.
Yesterday I camped above treeline on wide, lush, flower-speckled piece of earth that made my heart happy. I ate dinner from a mug, swatting mosquitoes off my cheeks in the fading light of evening. I felt the cold air descend as the sun dropped below the massive mountain above us. I crawled into a small green tent, and put my son into grey fleece pajamas. My husband read aloud to us from my book until our eyes were all droopy. Then he closed the book, and the last of the evening light faded. We snuggled together – a man, a woman, and a little fleece-covered cherub. The cold evening air infiltrated the tent slowly, and we pulled our sleeping bags tight up around our shoulders to stave off the cold. Only Cody’s feet remained uncovered, because they get too hot. Because he is more than just baby now – he’s a small person with feelings and thoughts – laughter and frowns. He has answers to questions. He has urgent need for kisses. He has to throw rocks. Right now. He is id embodied.
I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep. I recall nothing until I was awoken around midnight to the sound of a human voice yelling ” Aaaargh!” My eyes opened and I whispered urgently to Rick. “What was that!?” He explained it was two, possibly drunk, hikers coming by. I sat int the heart-pounding space that one sits in when terror awakens. I realized that as an individual I’d never been afraid to camp. I assumed I’d figure out the right move in the moment if anything went wrong. Now, with a gray, fleece-covered cherub to take into account, my fear was palpable. Things change so quickly.
The gray, fleece-covered cherub fervently held me in the cool night – asleep but still vigilant to stay close. I nestled him in closer and checked his feet for cold. I evaluated plans for fighting off unwelcome nighttime visitors with a grey, fleece-covered cherub by my side. I fell into a new sleep – guarding him closely.
He is my everything. I fear I don’t know exactly how to protect him – both in the night when strangers yell – or in the world when things feel very dark, and good news feels like a rarity.
I sit here alone tonight, and even in my excitement to be unattached for a few days while the cherub, dog, and husband are away I am reminding you and myself of how urgently and unquestioningly I love this small being and the others too. I remind you of the exhaustion, the sweet kisses, the tissue-soft cheeks, and the deep fear that he is too sweet for the world and that I can’t do enough to make the world better. I remind you of my sadness that our reality will unquestionably dampen the joy he exudes today. I remind you that motherhood is a thankless challenge and also my highest honor.