The windows are wide open in the house right now. Spring is dancing back and forth, two steps forward one step back. The tree in our front yard suddenly burst into bloom while we slept last night. We woke up this morning and it was heavy with thick white blossoms after days and days of tightly coiled buds. Through the window screens come sounds of children playing and bossing, arguing and laughing. Three of them are mine and I care for a wee baby or cram in a bit of housework with one ear on an open window, counting them up over and over again with my eyes, one two three, there they are. Already once today, I’ve had to dash outside to rescue skinned knees.
The lace curtains are lifting lazily in the breeze and there is a clutch of blue bells sitting on the mantle.
Maggie Love is lifting her head to see how the world looks in the spring. In the late afternoon light, her fuzzy duck-fluff hair looks strawberry red. At night, she sleeps in our bed and I curl around her like a half-dozing parenthesis, nursing in the dark. We are each other’s breath, my nose buried in her chubby crepe neck, her face right against my skin. I read in a baby book once that newborns can identify their mother simply by smell and that mothers can do the same. I believe it. I believe it. I believe it.
The other night, I was sitting in our bed, nursing the baby. I had just had my bath and my hair was tightly bound on the top of my head, my face scrubbed clean of make-up. Brian took out his phone to take a picture of me. He never does this: some people take pictures and others simply do not. Brian is in the latter category, he also never answers email or posts on Facebook. But he said I looked so beautiful perched there, criss-cross-applesauce, baby in my lap, that he had to take a picture. Later on I scrolled through his pictures and I saw that photo. It was horrible, probably one of the worst pictures I’ve ever taken, unflattering, my face all shiny, no one would have called me beautiful in that moment but I didn’t delete it. He thought I looked beautiful in that exact moment, just days after giving birth, and that was enough for me. But I admit it, I made a mental note to teach him about lifting the camera up a bit when taking a picture.
The sun goes down later and later. Every night, I want to go for a walk in the sunset but I can’t seem to get out the door in time. I have felt like I have no words, or rather like I have too many. I keep sitting down to write because this is what I do, what I have always done. And then something or someone always interrupts within minutes and I leave it. Then I come back to what I was writing and think what in the world is this?
Life has gotten rather small now and so I notice the small things: the tree is blooming now, the moss in the forest out back has gone fluorescent green. The kids are getting taller, we watch Wheel of Fortune. The tulips are lovely and the cherry trees on the boulevards are bright pink, Maggie Love has a nursing blister on her top lip.
Everything else is far away. I think about my life a year ago: travelling, preaching, writing, standing on stages, appearing on panels and videos, offering opinions on everything to cross Twitter and the news cycle and the Church, and I wonder who that girl was, that must have been another season.