Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Once a woman owns her life..."

"...she owns her birth." - Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

I went to the Mother Blessing for me on Saturday, put together by Juli and Roxanne with Amy (in from NY!) and Sarah also in attendance. My mother-in-law Sharon and sister-in-law Kelly are across the country but participated by sending beads and accompanying notes. It was small but intensely beautiful and meaningful for me.

We started by snacking and painting onesies, which was a fun thing to do outside. Then we came in for the ritual portion. Everyone brought a bead, and as each shared the bead, she also shared a wish for me. It was so beautiful. I felt so supported. I received wishes to be who I really am; to feel supported and loved; to be proud and confident in my choices; to have patience, endurance and flexibility. I needed to hear all that so much!

Then everyone shared positive mothering stories from their own lives. That was beautiful, too. I heard about the grace and strength of the mother figures in their lives, which really impacted me in a positive way.

I feel like pregnancy has taught me so much in ways I never could have anticipated. And I am so grateful for the patient yet firm and insistent teacher it has been. It has forced me to confront issues and fears around motherhood. Fear of failure, of not being good enough or ready to mother, of "only" being a mother. I did confront those fears and issues head on. Now I feel ready to fully embrace motherhood with a delicious satisfaction, profoundly glad to have the opportunity.

The Khalsa quote at the top is one way to describe the gift pregnancy has given me. It has been a way for me to do what I've struggled for a long time to do, which is to "own" my life without apology, to be totally comfortable and relaxed in my choices. What a gift!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Northampton is the best!

I highly recommend traveling and changes of pace in general. And in particular, I recommend Northampton, MA! It's just beautiful and I just got back from a most glorious week there with my sister, bro in law, sis in law and her baby.

We went to Shelburne Falls (there's me on the Bridge of Flowers- how charming is Shelburne Falls?! p.s. I am wearing a bathing suit under my clothes, but we didn't end up swimming in the river). We went all over Northampton (which includes, I must add, trips to Herrell's ice cream shop and Cornucopia's fine chocolate shop), and even to Vermont!! Oh Vermont! Vermont about which I have been dreaming for years. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

Here is a view from a restaurant in Vermont- we ate on the deck overlooking the river.

And here is beautiful Smith College! We had a great walk around campus. It's idyllic- there are so many gardens and places to enjoy the outdoors.

Can I even describe the homemade ice cream selection. Herrell's, Flayvors, and probably a ton I missed in VT. Herrell's had chocolate cookie. This is brilliant. What is with cookies and cream? I don't want no stinking cream. I want bittersweet chocolate on top of crunchy bittersweet chocolate cookie. Herrell's gets this. Herrell's loves me.

It was so wonderful to rest and relax with my sister, my bro in law and sis in law and her adorable one year old son. We just had such a great time no matter what we were doing. I am so lucky to have such a loving, brilliant, fun and fabulous sister. I am not just saying that because she might read this!! It's true!

ALSO!!! The BEST thing ever- my brother in law Sam has iTunes and helped me make a dream of mine come true (besides driving us to Vermont!). We downloaded a bunch of versions of "We Shall Overcome" and burned a beautiful CD, which I am planning to use as the baby's soothing CD. It's so wonderful. There are historic recordings from the civil rights movement; there are gospel and reggae versions, a lovely acoustic guitar version, and classic Pete Seeger and Joan Baez versions. It's so great!

Anyhoo. I can't wait to go back and see them again. It's always such a good time. If you know people who live in a different place from you, go visit! If you don't know such people, I say get out there and travel and make friends and pen pals (a charming even if somewhat dated concept). Yay!