Thursday, December 31, 2009
In celebration of resolutions and all things new at the first of the year:
Pregnancy for me was serious business. When I found out a baby was on the way I read the books, consulted the oracle on the world wide web, sifting through the advice and stopped standing in front of the microwave while waiting for frozen burritos. No army of scientists was going to sway my position that standing with your belly facing a box of radiation was a bad idea. The realization that I was subjecting another life to the substance of my everyday was sobering, with the glaring exception made for Hostess Ding-Dongs, their tidy foil-wrappers and consistent chocolate plasticity assuaged some unknown fear.
Hauling another person through every conversation and routine event gave me pause. And it made me realize that I wanted to be a person who laughs. Often. Genuinely. And so I resolved to be a person of light-heart. Resolution eventually gave way to habit as I looked for the places and moments where I was free to giggle. And the more I giggled, the more people expected me to, stopping by my cubicle for the permission to see the world new. And there was momentum. And a steadier pulse. And more sunshine.
I was reminded of this on Saturday as I was squeezed into Row 19 with my three children en route to Grandma’s. Getting everyone out the door with toothbrushes and underpants had left me with a stern face and what appeared to be an irrevocably creased brow. Without any context, that same baby, now wise with her four-and-a-half years turned to me and said, “When I laugh a lot it tickles me heart.”
I turned and looked at her. Really looked. And a small crack in the mean mommy plaster on my face began to zig and zag towards my ear. “I think she means it literally.” I thought. And why not. Hadn’t that been what I was hoping for while she incubated, tagging along for the better part of a year- fingers, toes and neural pathways forming in that protected place? Hadn’t I intended to tickle her newly beating heart with fresh blood and peaceful vibes? Hadn’t I purposed to establish laughter as a familiar and faithful companion?
I closed my eyes a moment and asked for the grace to wiggle out from under the weight of the non-essentials I had heaped into my pack. I poked her playfully in the side, two ribs below her armpit. She threw her head back as a loud laugh rushed out, calling one from my soul as companion. These are the gifts we give each other. Drawn from a deep well. Over lunch. In the car. Behind the curtain of blankets that transform the dining room table into a secret hide-out. Little giggles. Bits of snow loosened from the mountain top, spilling, gaining speed and sound, hoping for an avalanche where all are swept away.