Hole

Jan 6 | Posted by: Andrea Zonn |
I just dug one. A big one.

Lin had to giggle and ask me if it was inside or outside. No, it wasn’t yet another monumental project I had launched into, only to become overwhelmed and dawdle my way to the end. This hole was for the sweet, little hemlock tree I got to commemorate Leonard’s first Christmas. A sweet, little tree with a great big 700 pound rootball.

It felt good. I felt lucky to be enjoying a weird 60 degree January day. Just days ago, it was in the 30’s and freezing at night. Today is overcast and moist. I basked in the scent of the raw earth as I dug. I was thankful that my body is back. Thankful for the little boy napping in my house, the reward for months I spent inhabiting a frail body that drove me nuts. Last summer, I had to bribe people to dig holes for me. “Easy does it” was the norm – not such an easy state for this stubborn girl. Now I’m back to strong. Able. Me.

When I finished my task, I washed my filthy feet in the tub. I laughed to myself. I don’t usually have to do that this time of year. In the warmer months, I prefer to go barefoot. I like to feel things under my feet. Shoes are a nuisance. In fact, when I officiated a wedding last September, I did it barefoot. In my eighth month of pregnancy, I had been confined to nothing but flip flops for any outing, respectable or otherwise. Nothing, but nothing would eek over my feet. But I couldn’t do Jon and Jessi the dishonor of marrying them in flip flops. Nope. Barefoot and pregnant was the authentic thing to do. In the winter, warm, fuzzy footwear becomes the necessity. I don’t like cold feet.

Something about simple chores gets one’s mind going. I’m noticing that most of my friends are contemplating the new year more heavily than in years’ past. I am, too. I don’t know that I’m thinking about resolutions so much as I’m just focused on living a better life.

Leonard has everything to do with that. He’s the Great Inspirer, for me. I’m inspired to procrastinate less, to appreciate more, to create more, to learn more, to be more healthful, to be more present, to be more loving. To create more space and time. To dig deeper.

It’s not that I wasn’t striving for these things before. It’s just that now, I’m intent on making them a given. My world is suddenly revolving around a short, bald, toothless guy who is depending on me. And I want to be not just a good mother, but the mother he deserves. I want his childhood to be filled with the richness of words, music, laughter, loved ones, and curiosity. I want him to squeal with joy when his hands squish in the mud. I want to see the awe in his face when we sit and watch a train go by, then collect the smashed pennies we’ve laid on the tracks.

This year, I’m increasingly aware of the passage of time, of my own aging. God’s sense of humor is intact, and just when I’ve shed the fear that has constrained me in the past, whatever looks I had are fading. You’re funny, God. C’est la vie. Gravity is not kind when you’re approaching 40. My hands are cracked and chapped from countless daily washings. I’m noticing new lines around my eyes and mouth, and my skin just looks tired. But I’m finding beauty in these scars I’ve earned on this body. The stretch marks that now adorn my breasts and belly, and the long, pink C-section scar remind me of Leonard’s brilliant arrival – the most beautiful screaming, accompanied by flailing arms and hands, as though he were conducting a symphony. Grace and agony, perfectly intertwined. God has a way of lacing the extremes together. I love Him for that.

I’m feeling wiser in this new year.

And fearless.

And ready.

I want more substance. I want less stuff. Complacency is a thing of the past. As a friend would say, quality over quantity. I’m coming to think of it as a rich simplicity.

Relationships sit patiently on the sidelines at the moment. In my current mindset, I’m focused on other things. On Leonard and on myself. I’m nesting. I’m planning. I’m playing. I’m thinking. I’m spending 90 percent of my time alone with an infant, and loving every minute of it. I’m living inside my head most of the time, in the constant companionship of God and Leonard. I love it. I need it. I feel like I’m making a pact with myself and this baby. We’ll have a good life. I’m cleansing – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m reassessing, purging, shedding the non-essentials in order to make room for more stillness, more richness, more satisfaction. In every way, I feel I’m laying the groundwork for my new, better life. Our new, better life. The life that will allow Leonard and me both to flourish. I’m doing my part so that God can do His. That means I see less of the people I care about these days. But that’s temporary, and they’re understanding. I’m thankful they’re giving me this space, and know that the weight will shift again once I’ve caught my breath. A new balance. Another cycle. I’ll be more centered, more able to give back, more able to enjoy.

Things now require more planning and coordination. Time is spent purposefully. When Leonard is awake, I want to relish every moment. When he’s sleeping, I often go into hummingbird mode. Laundry, paperwork, returning phone calls, kitchen cleanup, and yes, the occasional monumental project – now a bits-and-pieces process. But sometimes, I just sit still in the quiet and watch him sleep. And no matter the activity, I’m contemplating, I’m listening, I’m praying. The wheels are turning. I’m digging. Manifesting. God, Leonard and me.

In this new year, I realize, more than ever, that time is precious. Leonard has already doubled in weight since his birth. He can already hold his head up, and is trying with all of his might to command the use of his hands and legs. There are moments when I’m sure the intent look on his face will be followed with an exquisite explosion of words tumbling out of his mouth. All my friends with children tell me how quickly time races by. I wonder if my current nesting craze is really just a masked attempt to make time stand still. I’m not finished in this moment, God. I haven’t yet loved it enough. It’s not yet seared into my mind. I want to always remember this moment with the immediacy I feel now. I know better. Time is not vertical, it’s linear, each moment seamlessly flowing into the next. But still. I’m not finished with this moment.

So what will this year hold? Lots of giggling. Lots of learning. Lots of milestones. By this time next year, Leonard will be walking and talking. Crazy. What else? Lots of traveling, and lots of music. Leonard will become a bus baby for a few months. His first tour. Hopefully, there will be a handful of intimate dinner parties around this big, old farmhouse table in my kitchen. This year will be, as all my years have come to be, an open prayer.

I’m happy in my little solitary world these days. I trust that I’m on the right path, even if I can’t see the final destination. I feel it, though. God has filled my belly with a satiating sureness.

And in the meantime, I’ll plop that sweet, little hemlock into the hole I dug, along with a blessing for Leonard. It’s only right. After all, he is, to me, a blessing among blessings.

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