half moon home
I surround myself with belongings that remind me of you, as if they may contain magic or bring us back together. I wear the red t-shirt you wore when you met me beneath fairy lights, at a rickety table in Oak Street Plaza, on the night that I fell in love with you. The candle you bought me is flickering atop the dresser and I write in a journal you gave me as an apology. The Half-Blood Prince sits on the bedspread before me, another gift from you, to add to my Harry Potter collection that I am rebuilding after my mom accidentally donated my childhood copies. My lower abdomen is swelling with our baby. Nine weeks. I have a strong feeling that he is a boy.
We share history now. Memories both painful and joyous. This must be the most challenging time we have lived through together. I hope that it is a turning point. May we change, recover, heal, and grow. I have not forgotten you or all that I love about you, but I am hurt and I need space.
I know that you have endured me being very dissatisfied. I have blamed you for my own unhappiness. I have hurt you by being a distant partner. I see how unfair this has been to you. I have a great amount of work to do.
Recently, you called us mirrors. We match each other in whatever we are feeling. You told me that you still see infinity when you look at me. I see infinity in you, too.
I come inside looking wilder after an hour sitting beneath the full moon. The night is tumbling with wind and rain. Sage smoke clings to my hair. In a mason jar on the patio table smolders paper filled with lists of things that I wish to let go of. I feel powerful, clear, listened to, held, utterly seen, heard, and loved.
I think that I forgot how to find quiet in the world around me. How to slip into the moments of nothing, of simply being. The hills around me are still, the water in the reservoir moves slowly, the breeze is cool against my neck. Hanging in the air is the occasional sound of a passerby who does not realize that I am here. I am sitting, writing, breathing, trying to slow my mind.
I write from the bath. Effie is watching videos of horses in the lounge room. Lola is upstairs drawing with fat beeswax crayons that smell of the natural world. It is quiet where I am. In the pink tub that I was so tickled by when we moved into this house.
Wintry sunlight fills the room. I take a deep breath.
Leaving single motherhood and transitioning into a blended family with my partner and his daughter was not easy for me. It was a change that I chose. I leaped into a new life wholeheartedly, with excitement. Then I felt awful several months after we moved in together upon realizing that there were parts of me resisting change and yearning for what was before. I found myself mourning my days of solitude with my daughter, even resenting my partner and feeling burdened by him and his daughter. I hid these feelings, fearing that I would be a monster if I gave voice to them.
I fell into a dark place where each day I awoke with dread. There was a secret sadness inside of me. I no longer found joy in the things I love most—my family, friends, writing, photography. Suddenly, everything I did felt like a chore, I felt like a victim, and I blamed everything and everyone around me for my feelings of worthlessness and despair.
My negative momentum built and rippled into the lives of those I love most. It was not until I almost lost my partner and the family we have worked so hard to build together that I realized how desperately I want to be right where I am.
I was finally honest about all of my feelings, even those that scared me. I slowed down long enough to look in the mirror. I listened to myself. I trusted myself. I stopped giving a rip about what everyone else thinks. I allowed myself to be imperfect. I realized that I didn't need to have all of the answers and that a bad feeling or moment or day didn't need to grow into a bad year. I have found my worth and joy once more. I realize that all I can do is take each day as it comes, remain patient with myself, and remember what is most fueling for my heart—loving me.
Amy Whinehouse floats from the coffee shop speaker. A table of five middle-aged women in brightly colored fleece sweaters speaks to one another animatedly. They all have the same haircut. Cropped short, right above the ear. They talk with their hands, they laugh. They remind me of middle school lunch. Of girls gathering at tables, reporting gossip and sharing secrets.
Behind the counter, I hear kitchen sounds. Forks and knives clinking together, water running, plates being set on a hard surface, coffee being ground with a loud whir.
This morning, I spoke with a woman named Monica. She works in the nurse-midwife office where I am receiving prenatal care. She has bright eyes and jokes with me when I have my blood drawn. I called as soon as the office opened. Eager. I have a tendency to be overly eager. My partner is the patient one, ever reminding me to slow down, trust, let it be.
"The genetic testing came back healthy. Just beautiful," Monica said. She also had gender results for me.
"What do you think?" She asked.
"My feeling has been boy."
"You're right. A perfect Y chromosome."
A boy. I am overwhelmed with joy. I thank Monica and hang up to call my partner.
"Do you want to know what kind of baby we're having?" I ask playfully.
"A baby boy," I say.
My partner is silent on the other end. I sit in the cafe, waiting. I can tell that he is crying. I tell him that I can let him go.
"Thank you, honey," he breaks the silence with a shaky voice. "I am here to listen to you. I love you. I will see you soon."
Pendant lights modeled after whisks hang from the ceiling. A copy of the New York Times sits open on a vacant table. We settle in near the back, where there is a train set wrapped around a rug on the floor and children's books are slung on low shelves. We sit close and admire the girls playing. They have grown so much as sisters. Considering one another and their surroundings, purely delighted by playing freely together.
I order a golden milk and breakfast burrito. I lean into my partner, resting my head against him softly. I feel my body relax, fall heavy with comfort, trust, safety. I close my eyes. I breathe him in.
Soft snow covers the ground. The sunlight is filtering through the windows. Rich, golden, splashing across my paper. There is no anxiety, urgency, eagerness. All is quiet and still.
I write a string of positive affirmations to myself.
There is time to let go, trust, and nurture yourself. Control only what you have power over (very little, and that is okay). You have energy, you are capable. Honor yourself, remind yourself of what you need, of what soothes your soul and allows you to be your most true self as a mother, partner, daughter, sister, and friend. You are infinitely worthy. Trust in the unknown, in the closing of this difficult chapter and the opening of something bright and new and exciting. Things are changing. Find the light, celebrate, write, be here now, open up, stay warm, trusting, powerful, and confident.
I dreamt I saw your face
just like your youngest sister's when she was born
but with sleepy eyes like your papa's
your sisters call you
as they run their small hands
across your half moon home
and tell you stories
and sing you songs
and make up silly names for you
but mostly they call you
what will you look like?
a bit like each of them
a bit like mama and papa
you are the size of an heirloom tomato
which makes sense to your sisters
who brought one home from the market
after shopping with papa
orange, heavy, autumnal
I look at it sitting
on the kitchen counter
thinking of the way you grow
your soft fluttering from weeks ago
transforming into still gentle but steady nudges
'hi, buddy,' your papa calls to you
when he feels you
reaching through your half moon home