Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So lucky

Harriet is three months today, which means I've got every right to post baby pictures. And we've got some gorgeous ones, taken this weekend by our friend Erin who makes everything beautiful, as well as another one displaying the ever-elusive, always precious Harriet smile. This third month has been a very fine one, real life returned to us. Harriet sleeps in her crib now, and for such long periods of time that I'm a very spoiled mom. During the past week we've gotten so that I get to come back downstairs after putting her to bed, rather than just collapsing into bed exhausted.

I kept a journal of letters to the baby throughout my pregnancy, and my plan was to write it throughout the postpartum too, but I didn't write a word until Harriet was nearly two months old. Which is interesting-- I've thought so much about how there is so little record of what that period is actually like for anybody, but I know that for me, I had no desire to write it all down so in essence to live it twice. Once was most certainly enough. It is, like much of motherhood, I am learning, better just to get on with it.

But part of the struggle, for me, was that my feelings weren't at all what I'd expected them to be. Not only did I not know how to articulate them properly, but I was uncomfortable even trying. I'd wondered if I'd see my baby and recognize her from the start, but I didn't. Getting to know her has been a slow and involved project, and of course I have to say that of course I've always loved her, but it's much more complicated than that, really. I've had to grow into this love, or perhaps it's that my love for her is so entrenched within me that I barely recognize it. It's way below the surface, is what I mean, so that I find myself staring at this tiny stranger and wondering who she is, and yet when we're apart, she is the string of thoughts in my head. Meeting her needs is such a primal urge I'm scarcely conscious of it, and yet it's overwhelming. When she's sleeping, I want her to never ever change, and at the same time I'm so eager to mark her progress, to meet this person she's slowly becoming. I can't remember what I ever did before, who I was then, but I also don't feel substantially changed. In that I've been Harriet's mother forever and ever, is what I mean by that. Or something quite different at the very same time.

I've heard tell of complaints that Toronto's had a very rotten summer, but I've missed the rotten, playing with my baby under shady trees, taking long walks, taking her to yoga, to the library, to the museum to sit on a bench and watch the fish swim. We've cut down on our evening walks now that the baby goes to bed early, but they were what got me through June and July when Harriet screeched on schedule, and I will remember the fresh air of those nights with fondness forever. Too many trips leading to ice cream, but it kept us happy and sane(ish). And now lately, we've had weekend trips away, a jaunt over to Toronto Island, and we're going away this weekend too for a tiny getaway, just for fun, just for summer. The summer that I thought would be lost to me, because certainly I do not remember June, but it all comes back, slowly, it does. And we're happy, if not always, and so lucky, always, always.