a new word

The year rolls over with words clutched to its belly. Some of these words fall, torn confetti at our feet. They are blurred, unreadable, already disappearing into the mulch of things to be let go of. Other words become dust as soon as they are exposed to the air, as if, purpose-served, they simply cease to exist.

The words with weight remain. They step away from 2011 and stretch. They politely assert themselves into our conversations:

Courageous, Perserverance, Kindness, Love

This morning I tidy up the bedroom, folding the top blanket, throwing it over the boat of our bed, arranging the pillows, stepping back to admire the way it all comes together neat and quiet. The sounds of six children sprawled on the couch slip beneath the door as I open my notebook, run my finger along the rough edge of a chapter that Belicia has chewed to pieces.

And I feel another word stepping into this new year.

I flop down on the bed, my bones still waking up from a night of sleeping sideways because the urge to have Dan’s hand resting on my head, to have his belly rising and falling against my cheek wouldn’t leave me. A night of Joaquin’s body, electrified and warm, moving with an animal-like pounce if contact was broken between our skin. He searched me out in his sleep; leg against leg, fingers curling and uncurling.  In that moment before sleep swallowed me whole, the rough sole of his foot was pressed against my mouth and I remembered the same imprint of his foot pressing outwards when he was curled inside the womb. I remember the same curling and uncurling of his fingers, the fluttering sign-language of his presence.

This morning, as I begin to write, this new word eases apart the two words that have presented themselves to me personally: Love and Kindness

This new word is Consistency.

It is humble but unafraid of its power.

The past year has been about big movements forward. Surges and retreats.

Now, I feel a deepening. A quiet tending to.

Just beyond the door of the bedroom the voices of Andy, Charlotte, Dan, Alziere, Jon, and six children fill our home. Joaquin opens the door, a satisfied smile on his face.

“Mommy, fuck!” he says, waving his truck in the air. I don’t try to correct his pronunciation.
“Is that right?” I ask.
He nods.
Yes, that is right.

Outside, I hear Tumanako yell at Sol, “Ah-Sol!”

And I know I will repeat the story over breakfast. Andy was the first to notice that when Joaquin gets angry at Sol, it comes out sounding a lot like he’s calling him an asshole.

These are the words that weave us together, the pretty and the profane.

We have been gifted with a new definition of family this year. Over the last months as people have entered our home and played games and shared food and conversation, the old definition has been erased and rewritten:

Blood is spirit and spirit is blood. Love is love. Family is family.

So what I realize as Joaquin pushes on to my lap, babbling at me like an old man, is that this year is about the small daily acts of tending to the way we define our days. To consistently writing our stories with pages of love, kindness, courage, and perserverance. This family made of spirit and blood, blood and spirit.

3 responses

  1. And mulch helps to nurture the garden so it can flourish with new growth. I love your reflection on the imprint of Joaquin’s foot before he was born and now. I vaguely remember way back when Sol was learning to speak, he had some phrase that sounded unintentionally like some kind of profanity but was really funny like what Joaquin is saying now. Happy new year and I hope for many new things to flourish for you and your family!

  2. I have been privileged and honor to become a part of the Mamaku Crew over the past few months. There hasn’t been any blood (on my part) BUT there has been plenty of spirit! Connecting with friends has been a wonderful experience. Especially connecting with friends I had not connected with for a very longtime.

    What I enjoy about your writing is the detail. The little things that you describe and note down. This is something I am trying to focus on this year, along with MANY other things. If we are able to ‘analyze’ these little things we and others do we can will then realize what each other is trying to achieve. The simple act of getting up in the morning reaching over and touching the one you love gently on the face, being cautious not to wake them up, not saying a word either, cause you have morning breath, then sliding out of the covers silently and leaving them fast asleep…they wake up and probably don’t even realize or appreciate what connection just happened. It’s the little things we say or do like this that the ones we love don’t see that we maybe NEED to see, to remind them of how much we really do care for them.

    Joaquin’s little language faux par is one of these little things we often forget about. That we need to remember and treasure as we and they get older. I will never forget my eldest daughters faux par concerning the disney film Poke-a-C@#Tess…I was in tears for years when she first said this. With 3 children yourself you know you still have years of these to go!

    Remember the little things. Sometimes they are bigger than we think.

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