The most peaceful time of my life was our baby's first few weeks here . Not, perhaps, the most common comment made about newborns, but so entirely true of our situation.
From the moment Dory arrived, a bubble erupted, encasing the three of us. For more than a week, she, Matthew and I lived in our brand new little world, a blissed out place, where the main event was tending to Dory and the constant conversation was admiring Dory. These two actions ceased only during broken, but deep sleep. I reveled, in half-exhausted splendor, in this soft, rich time.
The world came to us. My mother drove over daily to look after us, too busy looking after Dory to do much of that; my dad and step-mother came, my in-laws came, other friends and family trickled in, all to meet her. They came with groceries, home-cooked meals, cameras, soft exclamations of amazement, and deep, deep contentment just to be in the same room with this soft, bleary-eyed little one.
After that first week, Matthew returned to work and our bubble slipped just a little. She and I stayed in that same soft place, welcoming him home for lunch and in the evenings. He was always glad to come back and get down to the business of falling in love, a little more every day, with our new daughter.
Neither she nor I went anywhere those first few weeks. We were entirely attached, not only by my increasing delight in her presence, but her dependence on my breasts as breakfast, lunch, dinner and the dozen other times she needed to eat. As life developed more of a rhythm and it seemed she just might be as hardy and sustainable as the midwives at her delivery promised, we ventured out.
I remembered there was a world going on around us. And the constant chatter of this world revolved around mortgages, foreclosures, presidential elections, presidential failings- a smorgasbord of sad tidings, negativity and overall disharmony. This discourse affected us generally and personally and yet for the last month my daily experiences and Matthew's nightly conversation touched on none of it. Out, again, away from our nursing corner, our kitchen full of lovingly provided food, her co-sleeper, my bed, I found myself wanting to rush home again, to get away from all this noise, to piece our bubble back together by whatever means necessary. Thick gray strips of duct tape if need be.
At which point, I realized, now, more than ever, I wanted to choose my conversation, and, more importantly, my thoughts carefully. Did I want to put my focus on the collapsing economy, a distraught country and our own financial leanness? Would I contribute to that cloud of gloom hanging thick in the air? Would I bring that dark fog into our home, where Dory could feel, but not understand, the fear and anxiety surrounding her?
I can look at Dory and find a dozen things in that moment to feel good about. Her bright eyes. The little ooey-cooey noises she makes. Her delight in waving her naked legs and bottom in the air. Her contentment almost all the time and her clear and strident voice (and very red face) when something doesn't please her and needs to be fixed.
What to look at? Economy, candidates, events entirely out of my control? Or Dory's growing smile? Our dogs outside on a soft, breezy fall afternoon? Matthew's face when he walks in the door and smells something tasty for dinner? His laugh when I thrust a kiss at him, along with the apron, and ask him to take over dinner so I can nurse our ever-hungry munchkin?
Really, the choice is awfully easy.
Easier than it's ever been before. Or maybe I just needed a swift, hard kick in the backside to see how simple it really is. My kick came in the form of a perfectly peaceful and uncluttered little girl. I intend to drink in this time, I intend to absorb the details, I intend to memorize the words and the faces and the laughs of my baby and my husband and all my loved ones. I want to savor this brief, intense, brilliant time in her life and therefore in ours.
The bubble existed only in my head. Its up to me to maintain it. Choosing thoughts that feel good, maintaining that appreciation I have for her, expanding it to others, feeling love and letting it flow- that's the only power I have these days. I do believe that what you think about is what you get back. I don't believe you can have an unhappy journey and a happy ending. I do believe life is looking up, not just for me, but for the country in general. And I know, more than anything else, when this time has passed, I want to be someone who contributed kindness and hope and love.
Besides, the country has plenty of time to grow, peak, and fall apart over and over and over again. My daughter is this age for only a small, precious period of time.