motherhood · Poetry

Forget Me Not (poem for night feedings)

photo from the first few weeks earthside with Heidi.❤ April 2022

Forget Me Not

to memorize the feel of you
in my arms
I feel is impossible.
I won’t remember this,
how sweet it is
past midnight,
the rise and fall,
the gentle swaying,
over where you sleep.
I’ll put you down
soon,
not yet.

I want to remember this,
the feel of you
against my chest.
how all my love is
communicated,
and uncomplicated
and you know
how deep it goes. . .
past midnight,
the rise and fall,
the gentle swaying
however long you need,
longer.

and if I can’t remember
this,
I hope you know
that as you grow
I have memorized
you
the way
only a mother
can.

and if I can’t remember
this,
how sweet it is
past midnight,
I’ll look at you
bright flush of youth,
all grown up,
and know
I’ve not missed
anything at
all.

and if I can’t
remember
exactly how it feels
the feel of you in my arms,
I’ve loved trying to
memorize,
loved this mother’s life
trying to freeze time,
knowing it has the
upper hand.
who thought clocks were
a good idea?
but that same clock
and its upper hand
gives some acquiesce.
in the quiet, here we are
us nudged slow
past midnight,
everything is still
except-

how we sway,
and rise and fall,
how sweet all this is.
I kiss you softly,
lay you down.
I smile, smile, sigh.
clock ticks again with its
upper hand,
but I have two arms too,
and they aren’t bound
by hours.
so there are things
a mother
will not ever
forget,
remember them
or not.

-S.V.F.


Heidi’s birth story

Mommy Is Human But Here (on early postpartum)

The 4th Trimester (on the first 3 months after birth)

Life at the Blue House

They Gave a Backbone to Happiness // words for our 7th Anniversary

Our garden tells the story. Our bright yellow shed. The way we approach each new spring. How we laugh together.

It’s been seven years of marriage.

We wear our ugly crocs and go out in the garden in the evening after our children go to bed. He waters. I trim roses. We admire our tiny bursting sunflowers every day. In awe at how they’ve grown.

We walk on the garden path of stones, almost completed. I pick up our little boy’s toys all over the garden. Our two plastic hand-me-down chairs sit side by side tilted on the grassy hillside. We make plans for the rose bed. Note the new growth on our daughter’s rose bush. It’s a story we’re living in exploding color.

And I celebrate seven years with the poem I wrote for Hope Gives a Eulogy. Because this story which the garden tells and our laughter accompanies, began years ago when in our earlier youth we stumbled through the graveyard, harsh reality nipping at our heels.

From the grave the garden grew and our love deeper with it.

Backbone

Happy people live here.

Bright yellow, light blue,

Big parties, belly laughter,

And year-round Christmas lights.

Happy people live here

Even after the music box

Abruptly changed its tune.

Happy people live here.

Making up magic and merriness,

Composing a new anthem

For easily missed things

Too big to fit in a box.

Happy people, the happiest

They gave a backbone to 

Happiness.

While harsh realities nipped at our heels we cultivated life with our fingertips. Side by side. Until the bright yellow on the walls became the bright yellow in our laughter and the music box got swallowed by the music of a garden that keeps on growing.

We pass through the garden gate made of splintered scraps of wood, and close it for the night. We walk by the sunflowers, step into our home, children sleeping soundly.

Indeed, it has been happy.

A grave. A garden. A dying, living, growing thing.

Indeed, it is us wrapped in seven years of love.

A story hard-won.

motherhood

Should You Become a Mother

to the mothers now and those who will be. . .

Should you become a mother, yes you can give birth in happiness, with celebration though a generation asks why would you ever bring a child into this world? And you look at the world you’re living in with a broken heart while your whole heart beats with hope and love and joy for this child.

And so should you become a mother, the child in question was never a question for you.

Or for God.

(And aren’t you glad the mothers before us did not heed that age-old question? For here we are. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God.)

Should you become a mother, yes you can breathe with your heart outside your body. Yes, you can sleep without fear for their breathing. Yes, you can hold little hands and be held like a child too. God is with you. God is with you!

Should you become a mother, yes you can be taken up with wonder while tangled in exhaustion and lists. Yes, you can laugh with your child while the world falls apart and wars rage and dark alleys exist. Yes, you can turn the music loud and live in the song of goodness through tears, with grief.

Should you become a mother, yes you can let go and truly enjoy your kids growing up. Even if it feels too fast. No overwhelming burden of “only this little once,” only this, only that,” and all the onlys you can think of. Exhale! Because should you become a mother, you are their mother for life. Take it one brilliantly fast, wonderful, hard season at a time. And let it take you! All your love. All your life. A mother forever. So let them grow. And love the days that feel like years, the years that feel like seconds. You’ll lose. And win. All at once.

Should you become a mother, yes, you will be in the thick of it, stretched thin, feeling like you’re disappearing into thin air. But the magic is you reappear over and over as your child laughs, falls asleep safe and peaceful in your arms, talks to you without end, explores the world in wonder, little arms tight around your neck. And you’ll remember that, magic aside, you can ask God for strength. Of which you will receive. And thin air becomes fresh air as you become more mother, more child. More of both at once.

Should you become a mother, yes, you can hide under God’s wings as you run through fields with pervasive weeds and poisonous snakes, showing your children where all the wildflowers are, where goodness and beauty dwell, where feet are safe to go, where laugher overflows, where green pastures and still waters always outrun the valley of the shadow of death.

Should you become a mother, yes, you will forever be becoming. So, let your guard down and grow tall into your motherhood needy as God’s child.

This is a love story two-fold.

Mother of your child.

Mother, child of God.

You are safe to be as you become.

What a love story.

So, may you and us all, go forth breathing, laughing, enjoying, reappearing, asking, leading, singing, sleeping, resting, being, belonging, becoming.

And may our children see us as children of God. And how wonderful it is to belong to Him as we be and become.

Enough talking.

There are wildflowers in these fields to pick. Life to gather. A love story to live.

Let us go!

a mother like you,

S.V.F.

motherhood

The Garden Welcomes My Daughter

If the garden told the story,

there was nothing much to see,

until she put a garden under me.

a rosy bush, a sunflower,

some weeds, some grass, all joy.

so maybe it was she who was the flower first.

-the tree

the only light I will ever know is the way your hand held mine.

thank you for such hope and cheer.

thank you for planting me.

thank you for the celebration in the midst of all our waiting. . .

it didn’t turn out the way we wanted,

but I really loved my life.

-the seed

I make way for light, the underground of hope.

when it’s a flower, it’s also me. . .

the wellspring of a story,

writing a beautiful thing

without seeing the light of day.

well, that’s the impossible, magical thing

of being the unseen.

-the roots, deep

I won’t be here long,

but I love how long you wait for me.

with eager hope and eyes to see.

we both have wintered well.

let’s enjoy the view.

I am the blush of spring,

and so you are to me.

-the rose bloom

it was safe to be like dirt in a garden yet to grow.

and it was hope to bloom like a wanted thing

from a broken pot of dreams.

and after the burial, the burst of the flower,

who knew this was me.the gardener

and so the gardener, the roots and rose,

the tree and the seed waited and welled with joy.

life had already been, and it was really good.

but so much more was coming.

first spring, soon after, her.

all garden arms wide open for

the tiniest bundle of sunshine. . .

here comes the gardener’s daughter.


As for the gardener’s daughter? Well, I’ll let her tell her own story as she lives it. I am excited to get to know her as a person! She’s just shy of a month earth-side so we have a million things to catch up on as she grows into herself.

Make no mistake, this postpartum season hasn’t been without tears or overwhelm. It’s been a ride with highs and lows. I took this picture in the garden last week and also took a home video right there with our cat curled up on my lap, my son toddling around, and my newborn daughter resting against me. I know I’ll treasure this 60 second video forever. This particular moment(s) in the garden was much needed and so sweet for me as a mother.

I’m learning so much right now and feeling the discomfort that comes with breaking out of an old shell, working through postpartum healing and hormones, and growing deeper into my life as a mother. I am excited for what’s to come. Postpartum is far from over. But I’m here for it. Here for my life. Here for my motherhood. I am 100% here.

And God is here with me.

Here is the best place to be.