May, 23 2006
Dear Archer Sage
A year ago today, you were born...
Determined to come into the world, you knocked several times without me hearing you. You rang the bell probably but my hands were over my ears and I was singing, "lalala." I didn't think I was ready for you at first. Ha! I was wrong.
I touched my belly and felt you flicker. I knew you were faceless, a cluster of cells the size of a seed, and yet you had become me. You were more than a biological effect, you were a manifestation of a future unknown for both of us and all of us and so I dreamt of you for nine months.
I dreamt of you as a boy with big green eyes and as a girl with long blonde hair. I dreamt of giving birth to your father. I dreamt of giving birth to myself. I dreamt of unwrapping a globe with an unfamiliar topography, shape-shifting continents, the Rocky Mountains thrown upon the Greek isles, rolling knolls superimposed on Death Valley.
I spoke to you and wrote letters, not yet knowing your name. Secrets and stories and the way I felt carrying you around with me, everywhere I went. A road trip to San Francisco with you inside me, just the two of us and stopping in Big Sur to meditate, feet dangling from the bluffs, the farthest edge of the world. We had just found out about you then and so I quit smoking and chewed toothpicks with my hair out the window and the music up loud enough for you to dance.
Months passed quickly and then you were born.
In one year you have held up a mirror and taught me more about life than I imagined I could ever learn from an infant, a baby, and now a one-year old. You are my muse. I look at you and I see life. I see the fabulousness of dirt because you throw up your hands full of filth and smile sheepishly. You are the love of my life. You humble me. I am a greater person because of you. You, you, you. I am not defined by motherhood but it is very possible that a major part of how I define myself is being YOUR Mother. You: Archer, the little boy with the marble eyes and the two front teeth.
If I have not thanked you a trillion times, THANK YOU, once more. Thank you for sneaking in through my window and saying Boo! Here I am! Thank you for stirring and purring and screaming and crying and laughing and talking and standing and jumping. You are my exclamation point in a world of dot-dot-dots.
Instead of feeling like more of a grown-up, you have brought back the whimsical qualities of youth, the joy de vivre. I feel like I am a little girl again, pigtails and sneaking cookies from the jar. Unspooling yarn with you and jumping on the bed. I didn't used to dance in the middle of the grocery store until I met you. I didn't used to put flowers in my hair and play peekaboo behind every tree. I didn't used to fall face-first into the sand. Thank you for that. Life is so much more fun dirty and messy than neat and tidy and boring and bleh.
I think if I was one year old we would be best friends. I think I would enjoy shredding magazine pages with you and patting the dogs and swaying to the music and laughing at the squirrels as they chase each other across the sidewalk.
I got you, babe. Like an imaginary friend come to life, my little koala bear to eat off my plate and smear cake in my face and scratch my eyeballs out of my head. I get to sleep with you tonight because we're at Gammy and Papa's house and as I type you are waiting for me with your eyebrows up and your hands over your head.
Today we spent the day at the beach. Gammy and I built you your own little pool on the sand then slowly, the tide washed it away and you reached your arms up to me and I pulled you from the foam. This is what being your mother for the past year has been like for me- protecting you when I can, building walls around you knowing they will fall, digging pools in the sand with wind in my eye and sand in my butt and again when the pools dry and disappear. Me on my knees digging away.
I am myself, now. The self who, fully clothed is happy to play in the sand and soak myself with rocks in my hair and build drip castles that erase time. The self who chafes and freezes and who cares, if it makes you smile!?
The beach is vast. The ocean is dangerous so here, let me build you another little pool and we will sit in it together and watch the sea, me beside you, splashing away with our barefeet until you are old enough to walk away and swim with sharks and do handstands in the surf.
You are still inside of me, like it or not. You have that belly-button in case you forgot. (That rhymed.) I feel kind of lame and a little redundant writing you all of these letters and maybe one day when you read them you will put your hands over your ears and say "lalala" but for now I'll keep writing them because they help me remember all the moments and feelings that get lost in the quickness of life and watching you grow.
What they say is true. It does go by so fast. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and ride, Sally ride. Happy Birthday, little Pirate.
Loving you like an insane person,