||[08 Mar 2014|05:03pm]
I've said before, gratitude is the most intense emotion I've ever felt.
Today again, it storms through me, physically shaking me, bringing me to tears.
"Honey, are you okay?"
"I am so... thankful," and the quakes that follow.
I am thankful for love. For so much love. For this surge of love, an outpouring of love, of openness, of generosity. Kindness. Powerful kindness. Giving, in all ways possible. Care. Profound care.
And... it's not just for me. All of this love, this giving, is for me, but it's just as much for her. She provoked these waves of love. Like Hakusai's waves, this love keeps coming, unstoppable, inevitable. She, a person who doesn't even fully exist in this world yet, is loved beyond measure.
And she loves back. I feel it, in me, in her. I can feel the strength of her love. For Ben, for example. (Oh, am I thankful for Ben.) When we lie in bed together, she reaches out, presses against the inside of my belly, as if reaching for her dad. She adores him. She wants to touch him. "Soon," I coo. "Just a few more weeks. Then Daddy can hold you, and cuddle you, and kiss you." I pause. "Mom gets to hold you all to myself for nine months, but soon you will be shared."
I am thankful for Ben, perhaps more than anyone else. What it means to be married... (And we are married, papers and ceremonies mere formalities. It's what's in the heart that matters in this matter.) What it means to be married... A person who loves me entirely, to an unfathomable extent, this love being (of course) replicated, and thus always increasing, growing stronger through our ups and downs. His unstoppable kindness throughout my pregnancy, simple gestures of caring: cooking meals, doing chores around the house, driving me to work when I'm exhausted. For the simple act of being near me. For calling me beautiful. For rubbing my feet, my back. The effortlessness of our love, completely natural, like a river flowing its course. And through his anxieties about fatherhood, his love for her. His love for our unborn daughter makes me love him even more. Their budding relationship, this new love between these two souls I love so much, makes more love well up in me.
For my friends. That's what prompted this, I suppose, today. Today, my fourth and final baby shower. Getting on the computer, originally, to look up tie-dye instructions (remove the bands before putting in the washer or not?). Today, a day in the sun, a poolside vegan BBQ baby shower, a perfect-sized gathering of friends, who prepared food and games-- Wait, I don't think I ever saw the winning ribbon. The party going long because everyone getting along so well. Eight-year-old Cady happy swimming in the pool, an adored 3-month-old Talula getting kisses and coos from all directions, the boys (Ben, Verle, and Hank) intermittently separating and rejoining our group. Danielle's wisdom, Francine's encouragement, Annette's warmth. The baby squirming in my belly. It was exhausting, and the most fun I've here since we moved in. Tie-dying onesies, opening gifts, eating a bounty of food (and Annette's home-baked vegan cupcakes, with naturally-dyed purple and yellow frosting). So spoiled you are, little one.
Thankful too for my day yesterday, for calling in sick and spending the day resting and cuddling on Ben. Getting out of my scary OB exam (for now, at least), and getting to move up my maternity leave. Only two more days at work! Thankful for the state of California's pregnancy leave policy.
When I woke up this morning, I had a dream. (Yes, a dream as I was waking.) I drempt that I didn't have my belly anymore. At first, I felt relieved. I don't have to go through with this. No pain of childbirth, no life-long responsibility for this new human being. Then I felt guilty for these being the first thoughts in my head. And after this, I felt... like I had lost something. Like my life had less meaning now. How does she give my life a new level of meaning? I was surprised at this, reminded myself: but being a poet, but the publishing career... It didn't compare. My life had lost meaning more meaningful than those things. And I woke up, and she was there, and it was a relief. This is how it's supposed to be. My pregnancy has been hard (but remember your intention at yoga on Thursday-- to enjoy your pregnancy), but it means something. It's hard, but it's natural. I am meant for this. It is good.
And I have confirmation from all around me that it's good, like the Earth is swelling up with elation for me. God, thank You, thank You, thank You for all this love. For forcing it over me like a tidal wave. Help me give this love back, help me spread peace and love and understanding throughout the universe. Help me grow in wisdom, in encouragement, in warmth. Thank You for this baby. Thank You for Ben. For our home, for healthy food, for water, all of it. My life shines.
Reader, whoever you are, thank you, too, for loving me. For the love you have shown me.