I smile at Heidi who smiles at me with her whole face. I love how she talks with such gusto, concentration, and effort.
I walk by the flower bed filled up with the wildflowers and zinnias we planted the weekend before her birth. Heidi is 3 months old now and it feels as though the garden is clapping for the joy of it. I can’t believe how special and poetic it feels to see these flowers bloom. . .these which once were seeds and planted mere days before her birth. Of course it would thrill my heart to watch life unfold like this before my eyes.
Heidi is growing with the flowers.
The sunflowers across the way tower into slow and steady giants. These were planted soon after her birthday and I love seeing time move in this way. I am not afraid of it. How I love the gifts God gives within it!
If I could describe my daughter in the few months I’ve known her earth-side, I’d say she is the desert sky at night. I can still see the Mojave night sky dotted with lovely stars. These stars are like joyful pin-pricks, like participants in something grand while just being happy to be stars.
Heidi Letta is just happy to be her and to enjoy fully whatever skills she has at present. She especially loves to talk and be talked to. She is vibrant, full of life, and radiant as she interacts with it. The desert sky at night! The fourth trimester has been a myriad of emotions, growing pains, and wonder.
I struggled through those early postpartum weeks, praying earnestly for help. . .that the fog would lift, that I wouldn’t spiral, that I would see past the feelings of sadness and overwhelm. I felt like I could have cried for a whole day. And God, I love this life you’ve given me and my children, but tonight it feels too much for me. Carry me until I see everything I know. And then, please keep holding me.
Though it felt long, the intensity was short-lived. And one day in the garden while Shasta played and Heidi lay against my chest . . .the fog lifted. There was a lightness spreading within. The intensity subsided. The cat was curled up in my lap. There was an April breeze. Spring was afoot. Heidi’s colorful quilt an ode to such a deeply good and hard season. My laughter. A 60 second video recorded to remember the life I was surrounded in though it had often felt like TOO MUCH. But there we were. And there I was too.
Some days after I would thank God for an ordinary, BEAUTIFUL morning with my kids. For all the roses blooming in the garden. . .for life that felt like LIFE again.
And then soon after that I would be asking God for help as the demands of motherhood overwhelmed! me. This would be followed by many more prayers falling between feelings of joy, difficulty, strength, weakness, laughter, sadness. . .etc. . .
While the intensity of postpartum has eased and the initial pressing heaviness was short-lived, my prayers still sound much the same! Thanksgiving and cries for help! Joy and sadness. Honesty. Confiding myself in God.
In the 4th trimester, I struggled, but also grinned, laughed, and was submerged in life. God was ever present. His provision carried me through! Sometimes, I look at my kids and I think HOW DO I HAVE TWO KIDS?! HOW ARE THEY REAL?! But they are. And I love it.
Early on Sunday morning, before the rest of the house woke up, Heidi and I slipped outside to water the garden. She was still in her pj’s just lounging while I made puddles around the the plants with our garden hose. We’d share big smiles. She’d watch the water. I’d talk to her here and there. I love being in her company. I love being her mother. I love sharing the garden with her.
Those early postpartum weeks were deep and heavy, but here we are. Here we are! In the garden smiling and watering the plants together on a summer Sunday morning.
And rather than deep like drowning, the depth is found in living. l am deeper in my motherhood, deeper in my fellowship with God, deeper in my love for my children, deeper in my commitment to the life & tasks at hand, for the day in front of me. There is a lightness of foot and a lightness of heart I did not know I’d know again. Postpartum can be like that. But it’s not (and shouldn’t!) be like that forever.
And while the garden claps for joy, I clap too.
For so many reasons.
For Heidi’s powerful birth. For who Heidi is. For fog lifting. For flowers growing. And me too. For my motherhood breaking out of its cocoon. For laughter. For tears that needed falling. And every prayer heard. For mornings in the garden. For the Mojave night sky I still get to see every day. (What a gift you are, Heidi!) For time moving. For babies that don’t keep. And my not staying the woman I used to be. For God’s presence in it all and that He will be present in all the days to come. And in the minutes too. Because, sometimes, motherhood is done by the minute, or more truly, by the second! God is with us!
So, I’m clapping too. For the sheer life of it all.