Our lives pass like the seasons. As autumn approaches and long necks of grain are sickled out of the fields, we find ourselves at the threshing floor. The body of the stalk is broken, pulverized. The wheat germ and the chaff are tossed up in the breeze, and a warm harvest wind blows the husks away. It is tumultuous. It is sweaty and rhythmic work. An entire field will pass through a few lengths of barn. At the cusp of two seasons, anything not rooted blows away and turns to dust. And we are left with a few heavy sacks of grain to carry us through the coming cold.
We are the wheat of the fields. We grow wildly. We sprawl. And then life presents us with an experience that winnows us. For me, becoming a mother is one such experience. My life used to look a certain way. I used to have certain commitments and attitudes. I spent my time and money according to a manner. I worked hard to cultivate the things in my life that I valued. And when I became a mother, my lean golden life was harvested and brought to the threshing floor.
Few experiences in life will bring us to the threshing floor.
Pregnancy, birth and parenthood are experiences that can throw your life into chaos. We all like to be in control. We like to feel in control, to grasp for a thin strand of identity as our lives are tossed up and blown away. But when we have a winnowing experience, I believe it is important to let the chaff blow away. How often do you experience something that challenges you to the core of your identity? Let your husk of an identity be blown away in the breeze. There is a core that remains. There is a little kernel of soul and body and form that is richer than all the gold of the summer fields. And it is that wheat berry of your heart that will carry you through and sustain you.
I am thankful that I have been able to mother my daughter. I am thankful that I was laid off months ago and that I was able to be home and be present for Phoebe this month. Month Four was a challenging month for all three of us. As Phoebe is blossoming in her identity, Matt and I have been giving up the chaff of our lives, freeing our burdens so that we have time and energy to grow as a family and store away the rich memories and experiences that really matter in life. We are cocooning. We are learning what it means to be a family…our family.
Phoebe is growing so fast. She has a dozen different laughs. She is strong and lean. She is curious and investigates each toy I give her with excitement. She is gaining amazing hand dexterity. She wants me all the time, wants me to hold her all the time. If I hold her hands, she will take tiny steps. She can almost sit on her own. And she can’t crawl yet, but she is very efficient at wiggling backwards.
She will pause while nursing to look up into my face and beam into my eyes. And my heart stops.
She likes to touch my face. Especially to grab my nose. I find this endlessly precious.
I have been stressed. About money. About time. About being able to give Phoebe the environment she needs as she grows and develops faster than I ever anticipated. I often felt in the past month like I was barely catching my breath, trying to keep up with her. But I see now that I’m not meant to keep up with her. I am the beginning. I’m the point she launches off from. Her seasons are a blaze yet to come. I cannot BE everything for her. I must toss her up in the harvest breeze and let the kernels fall as they may. I can’t afford to worry, the worry must blow away like chaff. I only have time and energy to mother as best I know how, and to trust that Phoebe will flourish in her own right, like a wildflower in a field, hearty, yet fragile, as it bends in the breeze.
My little bird.
I am emptied of all my words. So my heart will simply open itself and pour out colors. And my smile will open and pour out laughter. My arms open and close around you, hugging you and drawing you near. And them your strong little arms push off my chest and into the atmosphere.
It is a wild world. And it awaits you. As for me, I’ll lift you up and let you fly.
Even if it is bittersweet to see time pass me by.