Seven years ago today I was blessed to be witness to my first birth and welcome my third niece into the world. She arrived at the perfect time. Born on my grandmother's 85th birthday. Tonight we celebrated with family, cake and presents.
I have never celebrated a birthday in quite the same way since her birth. I used to celebrate the babe that was born on that day. The day that, miraculously, brought this spirit earth side to walk among us. This in itself is a remarkable thing to celebrate. And now I cannot think of a "birth"day without thinking about the other spirit that was born on that day. The spirit of the warrior mama. It seems impossible to separate the two now... to not honour that moment when the maiden is no more and the baby-mother emerges from the wreckage. And when I say wreckage...I mean wreckage. That which brings forth life is so explosive that it does leave us in pieces. I find that when I look into a mother's eyes on the birthday of her child it's as if there is a window opened to that raw place of being in pieces once again. There is maybe even a wistful realization, when going back to that place, that when those pieces/bones were gathered and placed back together the wild, warrior woman that emerged was not the innocent maiden that resided in those bones before the explosive force of birth.
Tonight my niece kept saying and singing happy birthday to her mom, my sister. I'm not sure why. Most seven year olds wouldn't dare think of sharing the spotlight on their special day. After all, the cake is for them, the presents are for them, we sing to them, light the candles for them... And somehow this little soul, consciously or not, knew to deflect a little of the love to her mama. The woman standing in the background with pride all over her face. Seemingly doing nothing more than marking the passage of time with a party for her child. But I know otherwise. I was there. My life changed forever as I watched the layers peel away to reveal her true self. Allowing her to be fully present as she brought her squirmy, wet newborn daughter into her arms. It was my humble honour to watch her face light with joy and awe in those first moments, those first breaths. Until then I had never seen anything more genuine and pure in my entire life.
Since that night seven years ago I have been truly blessed to witness this incredible sight over and over again. It never gets old.
This is that babe today. Toothless, tousled and full of joy.
Happy Birthday Madeline!
And Happy "Birth"day Mama Arden...