I found out I loved you today.
Today was day four, and together we walked the woods, our chosen path, the two miles we’ve walked together these past few weeks. It was all too familiar for us, only this time, you heard my heart beating from chest level on the outside, but I held you just the same.
I was on a hunt for blooming mayflowers, as I have scouted with you for all of this month. I had a hunch, and together, with your tiny hand in mine, I once again knelt my body into the damp ditches of the woods, checking their stems for buds, examining their progress.
Your wheezing body mimicked my quickening breath, and you slept soundly, lulled by my heartbeat as we scaled the hills, and by the sound of my familiar footsteps.
The pine needles were a little softer underfoot today than they’d been, the soil smelling a little richer. The ash tress felled for the spiral staircase of the house gave off their fresh perfume, but it was the intoxicating scent of the mayflower I continued to pursue. You, in your hand-me-down pyjamas, I, in my pyjamas, too.
I walked this path with your father the evening before your birth, and the morning of it, too. I felt you moving inside, as you always did, and gave you our permission to join us soon. I did have a good feeling.
As I had been doing for quite a few days, on your birthday in the woods I reminded you I loved you, you were safe, and I trusted you to know when the time was right- together, that was our mantra.
These woods have a place for us.
And so, walking this trail on day four, my heart told me I would be granted the first few buds of Spring flowers to place in a vase on my bedside table. And yet, we walked the entire stretch and each time I squatted my twitching thighs into the ditch I came up empty handed. You continued your slumber. I continued moving my feet, calling it a day, admiring the recent work your dad completed on the roof of your future home until 4pm on the day I laboured with you.
I moved past the grazing cows enjoying their greening pasture, and up and onto the deck where the sun and my buns marked their place on the day we returned home from the hospital, a cold beer to be had to celebrate your birth, and Spring’s arrival, in hand.
And the sun was here with us today too, no longer did we shield my waddling body from freezing rain, nor did we need to bundle up into ever-shrinking winter coats, or find two matching mittens.
By the time of your birth as the sun set on April 21st, Spring had formally arrived. The sun had arrived. I had laboured alongside violet crocuses, golden coltsfoot, and happier hens laying plentiful eggs, too.
I laboured with you all Saturday day in our home, looking at the faces of your sisters on our walls, and wondering how your little bum would fit the diapers stacked perfectly on the shelf. We laboured together, you and I, and I looked upon the place where your body would rest at night, wondering, dreaming, pondering who you would be. The hours of your birthday were spent primarily just you and I, gaining strength from one another.
Your father sensed he should get off the roof around 4pm to check in on me, and together the three of us lie in bed as my body surrendered to the minute long surges bringing you closer to your place. I had thought of one more trail walk, but by this time, I’d missed the window of opportunity.
I reminded you I loved you, you were safe and that I trusted you to know when the time was right. And so, by 5:30pm, I sensed it was time and we gathered our things and headed to the hospital to learn of our progression.
I stayed one breath ahead of the pain. Just barely enough, but more than enough, just the same. And less than three hours after our arrival at the hospital, at 8:52pm, your father’s eyes welled with tears as he announced the arrival of his first son.
I had trusted you, you were safe, and you were loved.
I had had 41 whole weeks to ponder your existence. I could never have guessed your sex or your weight, ringing in at 9 pounds and 14 ounces, but I did know you were something special and you had a place here, and a lesson to teach, as each of my births and children do.
Though disappointed not to have found my flowers today, I found peace in it too. Honouring my body had done enough for me this week, and honouring your lesson to me that things come when the time is right, I can look again for flowers tomorrow, the day after that, or maybe even this time next week- and I can do so with you.
Others may have their mayflowers already, but I have my boy. I have the scent of your sweet milky breath against my collarbone and your soft head of hair resting under my chin. That is certainly more than enough for me today.
Enzo Acre, you’ve taught me more than I could have possibly known about the power of my own body, about the endless capacity for space in one’s heart, and you’ve taught me nature has a perfect, patient plan.
We took to the woods today, you and I, and you became the teacher. Today I knew I loved you.