“Motherhood is like a far-flung ocean painted out in front of me. Endless space in all directions, but I can’t see what’s under my feet.”
I sat out on the back porch of my first home in the early days of August and I said those words to my sister-in-law Hannah. When I first met Hannah she had red hair. Now, as if to illustrate the passage of time, her hair has tones of blonde with lightest auburn underneath. She laughed, because she knew exactly what I meant, and it comforted me as it echoed against the Red Rocks 8 miles to the West. When it bounced back we were already talking about other things. But that thought stuck with me as feeling the most authentic of all the ways that I have tried to explain the huge shift in the past eleven weeks, since my son came into the world.
Right now life consists of details. The little straps of his diaper tucked neatly into place, delicate noises that he makes while sleeping, my posture when I nurse him…
It’s funny how innately I hunch, subconsciously trying to set my rib cage down around him. Never before has my body draped this way, and It feels nice to bow down to a braver part of myself, a part that I’ve never met before.
We all seem to want to lay ourselves down around him. My husband, a natural care taker, has broken open for this little boy. Revealing all his vulnerability, and laying it around him like a warm blanket. Our parents, who already have seven grandchildren ( 14 between them), treat him like the very first one. They glow like little glowworms, creating their own bioluminescence.
Mostly though, I feel compelled by what I see and feel.
I feel compelled to share of myself; to pour all over things like sunlight & water. To write letters again, and mail them this time…
To shoot all the details of this brave new life, and the lives of others.
I love it. feeling compelled.
So a few weeks after my son was born I started writing him love letters. I didn’t do this to be creative in the way that I documented my first child’s first year. I did it because I could already see him in the future, and honestly he looked damn easy to talk to.
I did it because I love letters, and because I am usually better at writing my feelings than speaking them. And I always, always want Drew & Creigh to know how happy they make me.
I feel compelled to share with him the person that I am now, knowing certainly that I will change as he grows. I will want to. But I will point back to these letters, and to the vast space that separates me from the unknown future.
I will need them I imagine, to remember myself too.
When Creigh was eight weeks old, my dear friend and colleague Ashley Allen came to visit us in order to photograph us in our home. The first home that I have ever owned. The first place that has truly felt like home since I was a child myself…
I am compelled also to improve. To learn more about the world, and how to explain the complicated parts of it in a way that will leave him still feeling hopeful and feeling free.
The best part is that he is already so full of happiness, and that reaffirms what I have already known for so long…
“It is never too late to have a happy childhood.”
July 28, 2016 | 2 months old.
Dear Creigh Oaks,
When I lived out East I missed basic things. I missed the dry air and the smell of cold.
As my feet hit the hard pavement of Manhattan, I missed Colorado’s soft earth.
It was all relative to what I knew before. I believe we crave the understood & comfortable parts of our past. Our memory has its very own pair of rose colored glasses.
These days, I miss some place that doesn’t even exist. Some hybrid of the city that never sleeps, tucked along the curvy hips of the Puget Sound, and in love with the Rocky Mountains. Everyone that I know & love, scattered all over this World, live there. We are all neighbors, and I get to visit with them whenever I want.
No one ever tells you that the hardest part of being an adult is that some of your nearest and dearest aren’t near you at all; for some, They may never be again.
Their jobs and their families and their dreams have taken them somewhere different than you. And you will simply have to live with the digital thumbnail of their face, and a far away voice on the machine.
(Which aren’t actually machines now. They are voice mails, and nobody knows where all that mail goes.)
Document the way your life feels.
It really does change so fast.
I love you,
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