Sunday, December 13, 2009

Full to Bursting

It's a Sunday that started, early, with a cry from my son that sounded not quite right.  It was just after midnight and he's been sleeping through the night for months now.  I went into his room, reached into his crib, and lifted him to cradle in my arms.  He's fighting a cold, and teething, both of which give him a terrible runny nose and he was having trouble breathing because of it.  I took him to the rocking chair in the corner of his bedroom, propped him up against my body so his head was elevated, wiped his nose the best I could, and began to rock him.  He reached for the zipper on my sweatshirt, a sign that he wanted to nurse.  We've been slowly weaning, and he hasn't nursed in the night for the longest time, but his need for comfort was so blatant that I didn't think twice.  He nursed while we listened to lullabies and rocked in the darkness.  He reached up to grab a lock of my hair in his hand, and then drew it down to caress his face with the handful of downy ends.  I watched as his breathing calmed and slowed.  He gently ran his fingers along my jawline and neck, as if to reassure himself that I was still there.  I felt like a miracle, to be able to provide such complete and perfect comfort with my presence.  I felt like a sacrament, or a lucky penny all polished up in copper glory, secretly in possession of a winning lottery ticket.  I was the grateful, and the giver, and the vessel through which holy water flows all at once.  And I looked out the window at the cold rain falling in the night, and I was the wretched, and the beggar and the poor, lost soul seeking comfort too.  I imagined myself on the other side of that window, looking in, and the line between here and there seemed blurred, thin, and yet insurmountable.  I nursed and rocked him back to sleep, and then propped his mattress up on one end with rolled towels and put him back in his crib to sleep peacefully through the rest of the night.  I made my way back to my bedroom, floating on the grace of the god who inhabits my fingers when I stroke my sleeping baby's hair and when I reach for my husband in the shadows of the moonlight, prayers for another conception floating from my lips, dissolving into the dark night air.

Today we went to get our Christmas tree in the rain.  We splashed through icy puddles, flagrantly daring our colds to worsen, and picked up pine boughs that had fallen to the ground.  We chose a tall tree with deep green branches and soft pine needles, carried it home atop the car and set it up in the corner of our living room.  Our son circled it repeatedly like a dog searching for the perfect place to sleep.  I didn't wash the floors this weekend, nor did I make it through the ever growing pile of paperwork awaiting my attention.  I've only just started the laundry, late on a Sunday afternoon.  I haven't showered and my clothes and skin are ripe with the smells of sweat and sex, streaked with mucous and some blood from when my boy bit his tongue this morning and came to me for comfort.  Each breathe I take is full of the dust of a house in need of cleaning, the scent of pine, and of the piquant stew my husband is cooking in the kitchen.  I feel so full of life I can hardly stand it.  I won't wash anything away today.  Not dust, nor pine needles, not sweat or blood or the smell of sex from between my thighs, or the feeling of the wretched trapped in the rain outside the window of my baby's warm, dry bedroom where I am everything: mother and savior, goddess and girl with nothing but breasts full of milk and open, empty hands, held out in offering, waiting to be filled.

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