Musings of a Mum: 3 Months

September 30, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments


 (i like to pretend you are dancing to Madonna in this montage)

We are getting to know each other, and I must say I really like you so far. I feel the need to apologize.  I continue to slam back and forth from reality to reality.  One day, you are real and make sense and mean things.  The next, I am lost and frightened and leave your soul behind in the wake of "what about me!" Some mothers feel the deep love for their babies right after birth, and while I am logically and physically connected to you - my soul seems to have been sitting back for a bit, observing, afraid to attach to something so deep and lasting.  I will now be a mother until I draw my last breath, and that was not true only one year ago.  It's a dizzying transformation.  I like to think you are assessing me too.  We look at each other, not with suspicion, but with the curiosity of a stranger's gaze. I have no doubts the passionate, mamma-bear love is there (and could easily be accessed if there were a real threat), but for now - I curiously admire you, but you don't feel like MINE necessarily.  What does that mean anyway?  Do we own people?  When will I feel like a mother?  Will it be when I have to say 'no' for the first time, or will it be when you reach for me before you reach for anyone else? Oh, I am sure you'll melt me then.

The question posed to me, "How do you like being a mamma," is as baffling for me to answer as was, "Don't you just LOVE being pregnant?!"  I have come to terms with the fact that either the masses lie about the bliss of pregnancy and motherhood, or a few of us are just different.  Perhaps both are true, but the best lesson I can give you - rather than covering my natural self in shame - is to tell you that I am giving myself permission to attach slowly.  I give myself permission to define love and its stages as I see it.  Just as you are growing and developing as a human, I am growing and developing as a Mom, slowly and painfully breaking into my new identity.  You know, I did not love any part of pregnancy, nor do I yet see the overwhelming joy of being a mother.  I see work. I see a long trajectory of hard work - not in loving you, that's easy.  You are cute and smell like Jesus and rain and pancakes.  No, I am talking about the HARD work of molding a human being.

It's hitting me hard, I suppose.  The daunting nature of our future.  Honestly, I want to jump to the part where we get together as adults for a glass of wine and I tear up with pride at the wonderful woman you are, and also where you tell all your friends that your mother is fabulous.  But I am sure I will still worry about you.  I told your father this last week on a date that I am realizing that I'll never be truly alone again.  That even when I am not with you, I am still with you.  It's strange. Though I never thought I would feel this way, we are beginning to seriously entertain the notion that you will be our only child, and so I really want to cherish each kiss.

And I do.  You are such a delicious baby - and gorgeous...with beautiful, big eyes and chunky, rosy cheeks, and dark, heart-shaped perfect lips.

You make Joel and I laugh all the time with your facial expressions and sweet, easy cries.  You are RIDICULOUSLY expressive.  You seem to be a textbook baby, hitting all your markers on time and generally only crying when you have a need.   You are happy to have anyone hold you and have smiled at several people.  All in all, you are easy and we have enjoyed you!

Sleep is a challenge,  and has been my main focus for the last few weeks - because Mom and Dad are struggling with this lack of sleep.  You go down easy and sleep for a good while until your stomach wakes you up - about an hour into your nap.  That is the saddest cry of all, tugging at my heart-strings. It is so obvious that you don't want to wake up, but that some stabbing pain in your pea-sized stomach has brought you out of slumber.  Though you easily distinguish nighttime by sleeping much longer stretches than daytime, you still wake to feed (or out of habit, I cannot determine which) during the night.  I am determined that you will be a good sleeper, so we have begun to research and implement sleep training. You can now go to bed drowsy and put yourself to sleep.  I am so proud, it's like you love your bed.  Before each nap, I hold you as we look out your bedroom window and I see a lullaby your father taught me that his grandfather used to sing to his mom. You seem to love it. "One misty, moisty morning...when cloudy was the weather."

 I suspect you are a structured person, as discovering and solidifying your schedule has been quite easy.  I am not sure you had any hope at being UNstructured since I am your mother, but hear me say this - feel free to not be!  I am not intentionally trying to structure you (though children do thrive in it), but it is my natural way of being - and therefore will be familiar to you.   I will show you how to do it, if it suits you.  To make your schedule, I've noticed your pattern and then put a stamp on it, so that we can both have a predictable day.  For data purposes, I'll include it here:
7am: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
8am: Down for nap
10am: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
11am: Down for nap
1pm: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
2pm: Down for nap
4pm: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
5pm: Down for nap
6pm: Wake/Feed/Change
7pm: Down for the night
(9pm, 12am, 3am wake to feed).

You are still exclusively breastfed, though more often via a bottle than via breast.  You eat roughly 3-6oz each feeding, and still have a bit of reflux post feedings. We feed you, then burp you, then prop you up for no less than 10min.  Dad always falls asleep in that 10min "vertical time."  It's adorable seeing you two sleep huddled together. Don't tell him I told you, but he's a SUCKER for your whimper.

You found your hands a few weeks ago, slobbering all over them as you try to get them into your mouth.  This last week, you found your thumb!  Success! You spit out your pacifier and then pacify yourself with your thumb.  It's adorable.  I sucked my thumb for most of my childhood, so it seems very appropriate.  Midway into your nap, I can hear you trying to find your thumb, getting frustrated as you flail, then finally locating it and putting yourself back to sleep.

You are holding your neck up like a rock-star  for long periods when you first wake up and shorter periods throughout the day as you tire.  You like your infant seat, trying to grasp for the dangling monkey that you have stared at for weeks.  You like your swing, but only for 10 or so minutes.  You are smiling more and more and beginning to coo, especially at your grandma.  You actually remind me of her in personality.  Before you start to cry, you stick out your bottom lip and it quivers in the most pathetic way.  OUCH, my heart!  Your eyes are getting lighter and lighter, but they remain a cool blue - which makes me think they may not turn green as I had thought. You hate your car-seat when we are stopped, but love the passing shadows while we are driving in tunnels.  I've noticed you getting both bored and overstimulated by your surroundings, as you wake up more and more to what is around you.

Whenever I start to get a bit anxious about you not reaching whatever milestone I think you should be at, I remember that you were five weeks early and I adjust my expectations (as well as unpacking them psychologically) to give you more leeway in my sleep hopes.

I've been forcing myself out of the house more, realizing that the days I speak to other adults are my good days.  This is a surprise for me since I usually love staying home alone,  but being out helps me remember that we are a part of each other's lives, you and I....that my life isn't all about you.  It is my strong purpose that you will see me modeling self-care in the hopes that you realize that no one can care for anyone if they are at their personal end.  So we've been socializing with friends during the day, or walking to the library, or going to a Mom's group.

Grandma threw you a baby shower this last month, one where you received a lot of books!  You were passed around and loved on by all who attended.  You also attended the funeral and wake of Peter Gomes, your Uncle Ben's father.  It was sad, but soulful.  You slept calmly through most of it.

Love MUM.

Bowie Andromeda, 3 months old

On Becoming BabyWise: Giving your infant the gift of nighttime sleep
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

I strongly hesitate to list this information because people are so opinionated and convicted about their choices, but I want to reassure people that I am 1) educated on the various theories/practices of both attachment-style parenting and parent-directed-style parenting and have chosen what is the best for us and 2) I do not want unsolicited advice or opinions.  However, I do want to list the resources in case there are other moms who may want to follow how I am doing things and for record-keeping purposes.  Also, please remember to read everything with a grain of salt and your own logic.  Some of the above resources say really stupid things, but I use their overall outline for infant care.


The Story of a Mug

September 24, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

It looks like an ordinary plain ol' diner mug.  Actually, that's exactly what it is.  But for me, the matching set of heavy white porcelain mugs holds a story, one that attaches me to the mugs forever.

Things for things' sake is never my goal.  However, when things you own carry bits of your life story, stories you never wrote down or forgot to remember, then they are worth more than their own monetary value.  But when you pick up the book, mug, or vase - suddenly you are transported...standing frozen in the living room as your memory takes control of all motor functions.  Oh, I love that.

In college, my best friend Jackie and I would take road trips to Ashland, Oregon.  The Oregon Shakespeare Festival resides there, and it was only a 2.5-hour drive form Redding, California, where we went to school and shared an apartment.  In fact, we did this so many times, I've lost count.  My favorite time of year to travel to Ashland was during Fall.  Shakespeare cries for Autumn, and I answered that call as best I could.  How we as college students ever afforded the expensive tickets, gas, and food is beyond me.

I have a lingering suspicion that I owe Jackie a lot of money from that time in our friendship.  

We would be sure to arrive early to make a day of it. By 'a day of it,' I mean food.  FOOD.  We have had so many amazing meals, more and more decadent as our pocketbooks grew to adult sizes. 

A few times we even stayed the night in a modest hotel.  It was during one of these weekends that we walked cheerily into a diner on the main street.  I couldn't even tell you the name of it, much less recognize it if we went back.  It was relatively empty, which was fine by us. We may have still been a bit inebriated from our pre and mid-play wine. We were on a quest for dessert and coffee. 

Dessert and coffee is our thing.  I mean, aside from wine, dance parties, hot tubs, road trips, scorching summers, sneaking candied apples into plays, food fights, and hysterical laughter  - often about something not even remotely funny to others in attendance (we've endured many a sideways, albeit loving, look from her husband).  So, aside from all of those other things, dessert and coffee is our thing.

It was the perfect mug.  I begged to be ours.  It was the quintessential, vintage diner mug.  It was so heavy and had this slight hourglass curve to it, just the right size for your hand to slip through the handle and cuddle the heat of the entire mug (I've never seen Jacks hold a mug by its handle).  It also had the cutest little matching creamer.  We had to have them, and we said as much in between bites of bread pudding and chocolate cheesecake.  

Jackie said quietly, "Let's steal them."  I was shocked!  (You see, despite my surly demeanor, inside I am a rather huge weenie, bound and chained to societal rules and scared as hell of being caught.  However, Jackie has this devilish streak about her, which is just about the most surprising thing, since she is really good.  Like, really good inside.  But that girl, despite being so outwardly innocent-looking, sweet, kind, and shamelessly giving, is anything but insipid.  She has this secret underbelly that almost no one has access to - one of the great privledges of my life).

Despite my pusillanimity, I queried her on the logistics of the operation.  How would it work?  Would we pay for our meal and THEN sneak them into our backpack?  If I was going to be a criminal, I was going to be an organized one, damn-it. What's the plan?!

I don't remember Jackie's answers to these asks.  My guess is that she simply just asked the server about them.  Was the set for sale, and how much?  Though an obviously odd request, the server went into the back and then reappeared with the box containing two mugs and a creamer.  I am actually not even sure if we paid for them, or if she just gave them to us because we were so darn charming, AND because we followed the rules, I might point out.  Somewhere in the subsequent 15 years, we decided I would own the mugs, and Jackie would retain the little creamer.  

As I sip black coffee out of that mug this morning, and as I wait for Bowie's nap in order to call Jackie for our bimonthly chat, I think nostalgically, fondly, even weepily of that time in our lives.  I think I'll watch 'Much Ado about Nothing' tonight, perhaps even while sipping out of the almost-stolen mug.


The Finishing Project: Installment Eight

September 23, 2012 Candace Morris 5 Comments

Sundays are My Day to Sleep In

The day began
with unnerving sleep.
Where is she?!
Oh. Dad's got her.

Rushed. Cold coffee
Reheated leftovers for breakfast
He cooked with headphones on.
He never does that.
He must be stressed.

Cheeks flushed with action and irritation
and I realize I am horrible
at holding any of his negative emotion.
Since he almost never has any,
I've never had to practice.
Another reason to believe you'll be a shitty mom.
Which requires both a ferocious attachment and slick letting-go.
I'm afraid
it's going to hurt
too much.

I showered carelessly, not having to listen for her.
We drove, bickered, silenced.
Your playlists, the country roads

Family arriving,
hiding in the red room,
note to self: she is a great social excuse.
Soft cotton dress from France.
Rocking us both
Overtired and perpetually hungry.

Shaky man with used hands of dark leather.
He love kids and grows sweet tomatoes.
Every time, the same excuse, "My balance isn't what it used to be."
I hug him anyway. Hard.
I wrote you a poem, but it's not good enough.

Too estranged to make new memories,
We sit reminiscing about the old ones.

Yesterday you obeyed me.
Now you flit and flirt about my head like a mosquito.
Annoyed, I cannot ignore you, but I cannot pen you down
or swat you dead
Once and for all.

We all yawn together in the easy night.


The Finishing Project: Installment 7

September 22, 2012 Candace Morris 0 Comments

A Poem Everywhere

As my husband makes me
a pastrami sandwich
(it's the second meal he's cooked today)
I write.

And as I linger
longer than responsible
in the hot shower
(it's my first-world privilege)
I write.

And as I impatiently wait
for my second coat to dry
(it's the bluegray of my daughter's eyes)
I write.

And as I speak with my friend
about death and sex and dreamjobs
(it's the way her copper dreadlocks affect)
I write.

And as I push down
on the french press
(it's still fucking broken?! Why hasn't he fixed that?)
I write.

And as she suckles
the life out of me
(it's enough for both of us to share)
I write.

Words, I write you.
Will you then leave
me be?


The Finishing Project: Installment Six

September 21, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

How to Make a Person

You are not a task
to be checked off my list.
So I break down
the care of you into bite-size pieces,
the sum of which may produce a well-adjusted humanoid.

Or so I hope
you will not remember these years,
and yet they are the most important to your development.
Your choice of mate, your temperament, your personality
all in the resentful hands of a selfish girl
I despise
the paradox of this.

There is no choice.
If I don't have what it takes,
I still have to do it.
I force my creative mind into nap-hour.
The discomfort of my still tootight postpartum jeans.

I want each task to bring about a desired result.
Cause and Effect at its core.
Why do you defy the laws of physics.

Oh, I forgot you
were a superhumanhero.

Another one did these things for me once,
She was so young.
I loved her long, dark hair.
Her smell, my sustenance.
Even now.

You wake.
Your scent, my biological betrayal. 
I will always come to you.


The Finishing Project: Installment Four

September 19, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Date Night

Tears in my chai.
We force connection
isn't so hard.


The Finishing Project: Installment Three

September 18, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments


They say Cancers lean toward hyperbole.
A making of something out of nothing.
A life-threatening walk in the Sahara or an arduous walk to the library with a faulty baby carrier.
It's all the same to me.
Or to my imagination.
There are similarities, I swear!

The unforgiving sun penetrating coveringcloth,
The mercilessly steep and endless uphills.
The body's screams of musclemaddness and throat angst.
The carrying of a heavy, crying, overexposed child.

The desperation of knowing that I have no other choice
than to do exactly what I don't want to do.
Which is to press on.
Knowing that there is no one else to save us,
that this time we have to make it home on our own strength.
Still naively believing that if I plead enough,
Someone, somewhere will rescue me.

Then the after annoyance of accomplishing it,
The moving-on dishonors, invalidates.

We walk together,
You and I.
Kind and hateful memories will me on.


The Finishing Project: Installment Two

September 17, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

Afraid of the Dark

Not all the dark is scary, little one.

The cosmos contain dark matter, lurid with nothingness,
but twinkling with potential.
The nighttime makes love to lurking shadows,
but gifts the weary with slumber and the thirsty with wine.
Black colors the funeral mourners,
but hugs curves with a slimming elegance.
Gray is the hue of the pregnant clouds above,
but its cleansing waters feed the earth and steep the tea.
The human insides swirl in dim obscurity,
but the bone is white as snow - once it has died.

The best dark I ever encountered 
was the darkness I saw when I shut my eyes tightly
(then tighter still)
while laboring to bring you into this world.
I saw mothers everywhere, dead, alive, barren, childless.
All straining with me in the great black void
in luminescent darkness of love.


The Finishing Project: Installment One

September 16, 2012 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Day One


A river flows between us.
A water wrought with words
unsaid and swallowed,
coughed up and splashed about.

When we speak them --
stopping along the wet bank to pluck out the smooth stones
for examination and admiration
of time's stamp upon their unbreakable surface --
We are calmed.  

A bridge then constructs itself,
Extending from your insides to mine.

And again our life raft is tethered together,
navigating the current with not so much ease or grace 
(both are overrated),
but with togetherness,
a kind of connection 
fought for instead of bestowed.

My love,
the distance was not as it seemed.
It was only un-bridged words.

Let's go get a drink and talk.


p.s. there is still time to join this project...writing a poem or prose each day, finishing to completion.  let me know if you want to join and I'll add you to the private FB group.


The Finishing Project - An Invitation to a Poem-A-Day

September 14, 2012 Candace Morris 10 Comments

Ever since reading the essay "Write Like a Motherfucker" by Cheryl Strayed, an idea has been knocking around in my head...the idea to get the work done.  Just get it done, not get it right. Go read that essay.  Below is one of my favorite excerpts and it cuts to the core of the writer's whine*.

"If you had a two-sided chalkboard in your living room I’d write humility on one side and surrender on the other for you. That’s what I think you need to find and do to get yourself out of the funk you’re in. The most fascinating thing to me about your letter is that buried beneath all the anxiety and sorrow and fear and self-loathing, there’s arrogance at its core. It presumes you should be successful at 26, when really it takes most writers so much longer to get there. It laments that you’ll never be as good as David Foster Wallace—a genius, a master of the craft—while at the same time describing how little you write. You loathe yourself, and yet you’re consumed by the grandiose ideas you have about your own importance. You’re up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done."

Then, when reading the comment strand under a Google+ post by Wil Wheaton (yes, I just wrote that sentence), I saw that a reader had just completed a group project wherein he and the members wrote one short story per day for a month, just for the purpose of being able to write "The End" each day and to send it out to the world. 

Funny, I don't believe that there is a predetermined life for each human, but I do believe that if an idea won't leave you alone, you were meant to DO something about it... whether it be to share it, begin it, or complete it.  Furthermore, if you continually stifle these ideas, you will become artistically constipated.  

So here goes.

It is called "The Finishing Project."  In it, I am committing to writing one poem per day for a week.  I will begin this Sunday through the following Sunday.  The idea for this is not to produce quality work, per say (though that would be an awesome byproduct), but to produce a finished work.  As a means of accountability, I will blog those poems daily.

I want you to join me.  If you don't have a blog by which to share these daily entries, perhaps it's time to make one.  I could also make a yahoo group or a facebook page if we want a shared work-space.  Shoot me an email or reply to my blog below if you want to do it. 

To the doing,

*It's a thing.


A Lantern for Bowie

September 12, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, we let loose a lantern for Bowie.  Dad previously purchased a paper lantern in Thailand for just such a ritual, and we were instructed to write or draw something for her as a benediction of sorts. Aunt Julie and Uncle Tim happened to be visiting.  It was a gorgeous moment in our family's history.  Her father drew a schematic, I dedicated Plath's "I am, I am, I am."  I didn't see all the words, but they were not intended for me.  It was written to Bowie's soul, and then it was given to the sky.  

Sorry for the pollution, Mother Earth...but my baby's gotta fly.

Thank you for taking photos, Aunt Umber.  And it's true.  She does smell like hope.


Marriage, Postpartum Style

September 11, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

70% of females and 56% of males report a decline in marital satisfaction after becoming parents. When I first heard this statistic during pregnancy, I found it quite alarming, but since knowing is half the battle, and since Joel and I had a strong 10-year foundation and were happily married, I naively figured that what felt like a brick wall for most couples would instead be but a speed-bump for us.

It's not the first time I made naive assumptions regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood.  

  • I am unsure why, when pregnant, I felt the need to assure myself and everyone else around me that I was prepared for all that was to come.  I had a lot of experience with babies and more than anything else I've ever prepared for, felt extremely confident that I would not be surprised by the difficulties.  When I encountered complaining about the work of having a newborn from others, I would assume they didn't have any idea what they were getting into and were surprised by the hardships, therefore making it worse.  
  • I naively assumed that I would retain all the aspects of my personality that I was unwilling to part with during childbirth, namely that of losing time, not being hyper-observant of my surroundings, and feeling proper and modest.

None of these things turned out to be true.  And now, the naive assumption that my marriage would be set apart from the cliche problems has also been challenged.

I married a very loving man, yes because he is the best human being I've ever known and yes because I am attracted to him and yes because he is a good friend, but also because in my deep subconscious, I wanted a man who was safe.  I wanted a man that would, above all else, honor his commitment to not only STAY with me, but to renew our passion for a lifetime, to not just BE married, but to make the marriage good.  This way, you see, I was guaranteed to be impervious to the destruction and derision of an affair, failed marriage, or divorce.  Inside me lives this basic fear that I am unlovely and unworthy of committing to (no doubt residual shit from a father leaving).  I suppose I started with that fear and built a safe structure around it with Joel.  Yes, so I would have a happier and healthier emotional life, but also because I never wanted to really examine that fear and take adult responsibility for dealing with it.  Instead, I married someone who would never make me encounter those fears again. 

So we build these brick structures of assumptions around our fears, thinking they will keep us from destruction.  Through a rough patch in marriage last fall, I learned and am continuing to see the truth that we have to address the hard stuff from the inside out, even if we thought we would never have to deal with these kinds of issues.  We have to get over ourselves and our assumptions that we wouldn't struggle like our parents did or like THOSE people do - the ones we weren't sure should have ever been married in the first place, and the ones we are sure won't make it. Perhaps calling these missteps 'naive assumptions' is a poetic way of disguising nothing more than stone cold pride.

All of this to say, it's been hard.  We have had several inane discussions about domestic roles when we would surely rather be discussing string theory.  We have split up our social lives in order to give the other person a break from the baby when we would absolutely rather be out on the town together, sipping martinis.  We've agreed to spend our money on diapers when we would certainly rather be spending it on a new fall wardrobe.  

But those aren't even the hard things.  Joel put it well this last weekend, during a heated discussion concerning our incompatible social needs, when he said that it's as if we are newly married.  Where once we had to agree who was cooking and who was doing the dishes, we now have to work together to share the duties of having a baby.  We have to work on agreeing on our parenting style...all of which requires words that I just don't have under this amount of physical duress and sleep deprivation. 

In my mother's group, a woman described a time when she and her husband were also struggling with the newborn duties.  She determined to breastfeed exclusively, but would then become angry during night feedings because her husband didn't have to do anything.  He offered to get up, but what was he going to do? Watch?  Good luck staying awake for that.  So they determined that whatever compromise they came to would not necessarily be equal, but it would be fair.  So she asked him to think of something he could do (again, giving him the power to think of the task rather than assigning one), and he offered to have the dishwasher unloaded as well as breakfast and coffee prepared each morning.  SOLD!  This in no way is an equal sharing of work, but to both of them - it felt fair.

Because I had been aware that things were in no way equal, I felt the seeds of resentment planting themselves in my soul.  I continued in this state of feeling distant from each other, not because a baby has come between us, but because we are not the same marriage we used to be.  Once I realized that I didn't really care to be equal, but boy did I care about the division of work feeling fair, we were able to communicate honestly and logistically about how that would work.  

The remedy has been and always will be to talk about it.  To talk long and hard about our expectations, our silly hurt feelings, our sensitivities, our strengths, our sex life, our dating life, and our parental decisions...which can be as stupid and boring as "did you put her pacifier back in or are we not using it?" or as important and charged as "Do you dread coming home to us?" We have to allow for the pace of the other person's transition into parenthood.  We have to say no to friends more often.  We have to preserve family time with a new vigor.  We have to communicate more clearly about schedules and calendars.  We have to protect each other's hobbies and relaxation time.

On evenings when I am not hurdling my pride at being a couple struggling and less satisfied with our marriage after having a child, we just watch "Star Trek." This is okay, we bond over it.  Joel loves it, I love it, it creates a shared love.  

In Picard we trust,


Books for Bowie

September 10, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Joel's mom threw Bowie a baby shower to welcome her into this world.  Instead of typical presents (which everyone sent me when she was born - SO SPOILED), she asked each guest to bring a book of their choosing.  It was a lovely day to see family I too rarely see.  Now Baby Star has a rather enviable library.

That evening, while I cuddled Bowie after her feeding, I smelled the intoxicating mixture of several woman's scents combined on her.  It reminded me of the realization that women need other women, and that Bowie needs them all.  I fancy myself apart from this cliche, but no female is impervious.  We need to remember we aren't the first, and we aren't the last.  

Bowie also received her father's baby blanket and sweater/hat set that Gma Jean had saved for his offspring.  It was a touching moment.  Also touching was meeting my cousin Amy's new daughter, Kenya.  She is a miracle in so many senses.  I feel moved to the core when I consider the journey Amy has embarked upon to find her daughter.  

Toward the end of the baby shower, Jessica and Becca received the news that their father had passed away.  It was one of the most profoundly sacred and deeply sad moments I've ever witnessed, the inner circle of unabashed, unfiltered mourning as the initial blow is delivered.  I struggle to make meaning of it, but I am left with something about the cycle of life and death.  Here was a room of women celebrating life and the enjoyment thereof through family and literature, while simultaneously choking on the profoundly real knowledge of human mortality. 

My days, they are never short of meaning.

(thank you, Aunt Umber, for taking pictures).