Yesterday a 24 mile bike ride with Bean and one of my best girlfriends, out along the causeway. Lake water in every direction, ringed with mountains like we were in the middle of a blue bowl with a ragged edge.
The sky above us was sun-streaked and wind blown; tatters of clouds scudding by. Out at the end of the path, on the breakwater made with huge hunks of granite we ate sun-ripened peaches and laughed a lot.
Bean, his hair all sweaty and rumpled like baby duck down, sat in my lap sucking on the sweet peach flesh, making small grunting noises of glee. And we talked about how our mothers came from a generation that believed part of the duty of being a mother was being a martyr. That somehow raising a child meant loosing oneself.
Later, over wine and grilled corn with friends, we made a ruckus until well past midnight; the seams of our lives nearly blurring completely.
And this morning, at the corner breakfast place, heaps of French toast, coffee, fresh papaya and melon and mango, Bean slept in the Bjorn on my chest. It works, this life we've made for ourselves with him in it. There are differences, surely. But it's not the bittersweet sacrifice my mother made it out to be---in so many ways her life ceased when mine began.
It's a matter of definitions, it seems. Of expectations. What makes life good for me has started to have much less to do with outcomes than with the process itself. Knowing that I'll be woken several times a night by a baby who is uncomfortable and teething, seeking solace, leaves me two options: to feel frustrated, resentful, exhausted; or to knit the moments of half waking snuggled close against his fragrant sleepy head, into a night. And then wake up in the morning with a clean slate, greeted by the warm embrace of my husband, our baby inching his way over our bodies, giggling with joy.
I wanted to tell this to the couple we saw at the restaurant carefully carrying their two week old baby in his convertible car seat, their eyes still wide with wonder and lack of sleep. Instead I said simply, "It gets better and better every day."