a love story: thirst memories
We bring him in, tightly burritoed and jammed with blankets and buckles into a car seat, and we introduce him to our curious dog before I waddle to the bed where family joins. Friends drop food, and Seth entertains them, proudly exhausted. My milk comes quickly, and he attaches so easily, then nods to sleep, and I stare and I stare at him. I undo his blanket, and look at him all over. I can’t believe he’s an actual person.
The house empties, and in a weepy post-pardom mess, we lock eyes, and I share the Gospel with Isaac for the first time. He responds blankly, and I giggle at myself, then drift to sleep, waking every thirty seconds to check his breathing.
I don’t rest but rather tighten up into a willed machine, clench my secrets, and bow low in prayer, in my exhaustion, but hiding parts away, aware always that this is my second baby. Aware always that I could have torn this family apart, but instead we grow.
Seth keeps his hand on my back, where it had grown needed in labor. He stays present. Neither of us want to miss the growing, the chance to bond, the chance to see the other in Isaac’s face. We repeat the word “unbelievable.” Seth props him on pillows and plays guitar, and he kicks his crazy legs. We take pictures of every drooling twitch of his lips.
A favorite book makes one noise that terrifies, and we chuckle then comfort and rock. We feed him baby foods that make him gag, and then I decide to make my own baby food, organic, of course. I spend money and hours of cooking, and grinding, and pureeing, and all the while, Isaac is sitting over the doggy bowl eating dog food. Seth and I laugh and laugh, and we think about the deep connection we’re making with Isaac. Oh, how we’ll remember these moments, those pajamas, the smell of powder in his room. We constantly take note. Say Look at what he did, we in baby journalism.
Now Isaac walks down the isle. It’s graduation or it’s marriage. He’s not thinking about his Mama and her crazy love, or the books we read together, or the attacks of the tickle monster, but I am. I remember my baby. Seth squeezes my hand. Those memories of Isaac are not for me and Isaac. They’re for me and the one who had bought my diamond after only one month, the one who had stuck his finger in the ripped jeans and touched the back of my knee, the one who became my kin, my home, the one who worked at my glowing ashes, the one who desired me and wanted me satisfied – purely, claimed me – again and again.
In the memory-making, we aren’t bonding only with the child, we’re meshing, again, drinking it all in together, our delight, and extending ourselves, as in love-making, into the other’s heart – healing, strengthening, growing.
I think of that tiny hot body and his miniature hand in my shiny hair, how I pour out like a fountain, how thirsty I am, how Seth never fails to bring me the water.
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