How about buttery toast with nutritional yeast?
Where’s the traditional geese?
Sprinkled on top of it.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I don’t waaaaaaaan it. I waaaaaaan IT oooooon the SIIIIIDDE..
No. I. Don’t. Wanit! I want something else!
She pauses. Her eyes gaze up to the sky, her slender, sturdy feral-like body rests on a shady patch of green, the light weaves above it, sprinkling brightness within shadow. Her fingers pick and poke, separate and pet at the blades of grass that is her bed. One leg rocks to beat that is undoubtedly the soundtrack in her head, a mix of African ceremonial and British 70’s rock. The other leg is limp, relaxed, rolling off to the outer edge of the limb, open and receiving. Half her body in corpse pose, the other half ready to leap through the air.
She looks up at the mother, standing above her, waiting, looking down at her wondering if the tantrum will pass quickly like a mid-day Island summer storm or if she is just in the eye of it and any moment expect a torrential downpour of will. It was one of those days, the many where the Mother lived in utter not knowing, or un-knowing. Mystery was above all her life with children.
I want the clouds.
The clouds? Well, okay. Coming right up.
So the mother walks into an open sunlit square a few steps away from her daughter.
She looks up, plants her feet into the ground, lifts up her arms to the perfect gathering of cumulus in the robin egg blue sky above her. She reaches up past her ears and head and above the crown. Her jacket lifts and exposes the loose flesh and the marked paths of pregnancy mapping like deep canals in her skin. She stretches her body higher, opens her hands and takes hold of the clouds pulling them into her arms, picking them like cotton, gathering them like sheets from a clothes line in a hurry before the rain . She exhales down, holding the bundle of white fluff and wetness, of nothingness, the ether, and she carefully walks back to her daughter with an armful of her request.
Here. Here are some clouds for you
She smiles at her mother, a sparkle in both their eyes meet up. I want the sun now.
The sun? Okay.
The mother walks further into the yard where the sun beats down larger, like a blazing drum, bouncing off dahlias, spiderwebs and fallen green apples. This time she lifts straight up, raises her chest, raises each leg up, and down, up and down, climbing further and ladder-like, pulling down air and bringing her body closer to the original flames. She squints and sweats, grunts and sighs. She passes the tops of the tips of the cedar and aspen, she ascends above clouds, she makes eye contact with a turkey vulture and ducks her head as it cruises by. Damn, those birds are huge. Finally she is at the sun. She wipes her brow, looks behind her right shoulder, down at the yard, making sure the baby is still okay on the quilt under a leafy tree, taking a nap. And then she heads backwards and down, holding the flaming orb on top of her head, like a tribal woman carries a basket, while her feet search below for each step descending until she is back on the ground. She carefully walks over to her daughter, making sure she doesn’t drop the sun on any living thing below, and gracefully offers it to the spot next her her.
The sun, my love.
She giggles, wiggles and pretends to touch it. It’s hot!
That tree. Now I want that tree. She is happy to continue the game.
She points to the tree to the west that’s rumored to be the second tallest tree in the whole town, it towers above any that she could see, but the story goes that there is one taller, somewhere in the valley.
That one? The big one? My pleasure.
The mother heads over to it’s corner and look up at it. She reaches her right hand around her backside and rubs at the cusp of her sacrum and her ass, gently massaging a large knot out. This one would be hard, heavy. She takes a forward fold and then a squat, hoping to prepare her body for the hard work of uprooting a 200 foot old growth tree. She pulls her fleece hoody over her head and kicks off her sneakers, using the opposite one to pry off the other. She inhales and exhales. Plants her feet, all toes root into the ground, like on the deep brown tree bark she faces. She aligns her spine over her hips, tucks her pelvis ever so slightly, lifting the perineum just enough to gather strength and lock it in and to keep her bladder from prolapsing (after the third that area went a bit haywire) and squats down, all the way to the where the trunk meets the earth. She takes hold the large tree body with her arms and hands and grunts, tugs, wiggles, loosens it, rips up, loosens a bit more, like working a tooth ready to pass on, and then a huge arrrgggggggghhhh she finally, with all her might gathered from every corner of the Universe, she pulls the whole tree up from the chunky black earth. The dirt separates and sinks deeper and deeper into into itself, lifting up communities of creepy-crawlers and million legged slitherers. The tree roots dangling above the gapping whole which was it’s home, ragged and thick, like an old witches dreadlocks, spiraling down to the newest growth, the shooter, which has been ripped from it’s womb [something that makes the mother feel a tad guilty, but this is for her daughter. A mother must do what she must.] Slowly and with caution, making sure the tree doesn’t drop on her younger daughters or hurt the gravenstein tree growing nearby, she carries it over to the older girl who still lounges on the ground, watching every move her mother makes.
My love, the tree. She sets it down next to her daughter’s body, it’s roots take hold of the earth and grown downward, secure, back at home. There we go.
Maaamaaa! Thank you! She is beyond herself with glee, kicking up her legs and flapping her arms like wings against the earth.
Is there anything else?
I have the clouds and the sun and the tree! I have everything!!!
Is there anything else you want? Because I’ll give you anything, anything.
I began my mothering journey keeping things from me kids: TV, certain kinds of foods, certain kinds of people, words, images, places. I kept things from them because by doing that it felt I was giving them innocence. But what kind of life is living in subtraction? From now on, I give. I give freely. Even if giving means giving nothing at all, a No. Not Now. Another Time. A shift in perspective: I won’t keep the world from them, it’s theirs to explore while I breath and trust.
Mia, you are five. [FIVE!! I yell this in disbelief] How did this happen? I try to remember how your porcelain skin was once chubby and rollie and without a trace of dirt or paint or scars and scabs. I try to remember what your toes looked like at 5 months? 7 months? 2 years? I will never forget the way they looked at one day old, but after that they grew so fast I have forgotten. I look at your elbows now and know they look so different. Your elbows when you were about 13 months and were chunky and dimpled, I’d chew on them and kiss them and think you had the most incredible tasting elbows in existence. You’d giggle and give me a couple toothed smile. Now those elbows live on a long and strong arm, very little chub left, muscles growing beneath soft blond hair.
And now you are five. Five is. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. Akasha. Five is. Womb. Birth. Baby. Toddler. Kid. Five is. Mama. Dadda. Mia. Sula. Zadie. Five is. Mia. Rose. Little. Moon. Rock. Five is. Thumb. Pointer. Middle. Ring. Pinkie. Five is You.
This is the hardest birthday letter I have had to write yet. This is because I love you more than ever. Isn’ that something? To love you even more deeply than here, or here? It’s because mothering you the way you ask me to do is harder and more demanding than I ever imagined. The symbiosis doesn’t come easy, it’s not totally innate, but it reveals itself through time and space, and love of course, although love isn’t the only ingredient, it’s the only foul-proof one that works time and time again. We have had our struggles. You are grumpy in the morning. So am I. You sensitive heart runs infinitely deep. So does mine. You’re loud. Me too. You make your own choices, no rules apply. Yup, same over here. You need me. I need you. You get lost in creative play. So do I. We like to come up against all things, hard and passionately. Sometimes it’s just as much fun to rip apart a flower to see what it’s made of than to carefully adore it from afar. Neither of us are afraid to climb narrow cliffs with raging waters below. But I get scared when I see you do it. You seem nervous whan you watch me.
And I say this so we remember how very perfect it is that you and I were brought together. You are my greatest teacher, you don’t mirror me as a child, you mirror me now, a reminder, a poke, a shove sometimes to become The Presence in just that moment. And at the same time you came here for me to teach you about containment and safety, about loving with abandon without getting caught in the web of drama. You’ve come here to teach me to step forward towards giving; giving freely to your heart’s requests is at least the first step in knowing how to truly love you. And the world.
Today you asked me what The President was after a prolonged conversation with a canvasser [yes they have them out in the country] who came by with voter registration forms for me.
A Leader. The simplest reply I could find at that moment.
How do you be one? [not sure if you meant what do you have to do if you are one, or what you needed to become one].
I thought for a moment. Ummm. 35 years old and born in the United States. You thought for a moment, I could see your eyes dance while your mind worked. And then you grinned ear to ear, showing my your sparkly teeth you work so hard to brush every morning with your battery operated Dora brush.
Yes!!! When you are 35, Yes.
I am five. Today I am five! I am five so I can be president.
Mia, you could be president, though I am not sure you would want to. Leading a rock opera symphony perhaps or a womans bling-bling futbal league, where boas, scarves, glitter, and puffs are required while displaying hard-core kicking and passing and championship stradegy. You are all at once the Fanciest Nancy I know and the roughest, toughest chick in town. But president? You might just end up too smart for that job, unless of course things change, this world changes. The pendulum swings. Someday maybe presidents won’t be such a bag full of shit.
Mia, you won’t read this until you are much older, but I can say it now. You are a beautiful gift to this world. Know you possess everything, all the elements, the magical alchemical combination of equal part air and dust, earth and flower. You are your Motherline of Stregas and Midwives, Storytellers and Musicmakers. Scientists and Engineers. You are the scion of Peace. Know you are more than enough to love yourself. To love your partners. To love this earth. You are an evolover as each year passes I am reaffirmed at my job to hold you while you live The Art of Peace. It’s not always easy, but it is our path. It is possible. I didn’t have you to muddle the waters, but when they get that way we have a means to a cold glacial river to rip through and crystilize the murkiness.I channeled you down by the greatest grace, the blessings from my womb, to this world.
I won’t be here forever, but I will be here until you are old and gray. And when you came crying to me tonight in exhaustion and high on stolen Hershey kisses and a cake with chocolate bread inside and looks just exactly like a pumpkin outside [your request. I tried my best. it looked more like a basketball but at least it tasted good], you collapsed in my lap and bawled that you wanted to be a big girl but you wanted to be a little baby. That you wanted to be little in my arms like Z and you wanted to be a big girl still, but still a baby. I wanna be a baby too and a big girl but i want you to love me like a baby. You were so confused, being four and now five and wondering what it all really means. Theses transitions aren’t easy for any of us. Even the most seasoned of us flinch and fight, toss endlessly in discomfort at night while we allow death and life to meet, while we all ourselves to be the change.
You are FIVE. May this year bring you the tidings you deserve, you long for: a container of love, the community you aspire to create, the glitter you long to spread, the music you continually make with your voice and hands and feet and beating heart, the crunchy and tacky pepto-pink princess dress who eye everytime we go to wee-one’s consignment shop. FIVE. It’s been a year for you: from desert to rainforest, city to country, one school to another un-school, rental house to ownership. But really, as much as you are aware of these changes and transitions, you feel them to the core of your bones, you are fine. You are fine when I am fine. We are learning together, to Let It Be.
I told you your birth story this morning. You looked up at me and said: Mama, thank you for saying that, when I was coming out. That was nice of you because I know pushing baby out is hard.
Saying what, sweetie?
Saying thank you to me while I was coming out. When you were getting me out, you said Thank you, Baby, thank you, baby. That was nice of you mama. I liked it.
I’m glad you liked it. I said it because I meant it. You know when I say: Mia Rose, you are driving me CRAZY?
Remind me of what I said when you were coming out, k?
No, really, thank you. I don’t even know how much I bow to you yet, but something tells me little by little more and more gifts will be revealed. I can only handle so much love at a time.
Happy Birthday Mia Rose Little Moon Rock. Your spirit name has been announced to the world now. I ask the world to receive you fully.
More love than I know how to say,