Experience

by Alicia on November 29, 2012

*I missed NaBloPoMo yesterday. But if I had to miss it? I’m thrilled it was for this…

 

“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.”   -John Keats

 

You can walk a hall a thousand times and not notice it’s true dips and dives until you’re walking it alongside someone else. They take you with them, despite the fact that you’ve done this before. The tour guide in you wants to yell at them: I’ve been here! I’m the leader! I can tell you how you’re feeling! I know that step and those angles and that turn! So when you love them, your walking partner, it is ever so difficult to watch them be challenged by this path you’ve got handled. But you might as well be a puff of wind, ever so gently pushing them but not really existing in any tangible way. Because you can’t possibly walk with their feet, and they don’t want you to anyway.

I have birthed three babies. Easy pregnancies, beautiful labours, bing, bang, boom. Intention.

But last night I watched my best friend labour for hours. She took deep breaths, she closed her eyes, she gave over to the majesty and the hugeness of what was delivering their son into their arms. Their son. I was asked to help my best friend through the most difficult and painful of lonely hallways I’ve travelled before, to watch her struggle against all she had never been able to prepare herself for, all so that she could become her son’s mother. That, my dear friends…is a gift I cannot possibly describe in plain language. I got to watch what is basically my future- as Jenifer’s mother walked that fine line of “that’s my baby” and “that’s their baby“.

It is one thing to be a seasoned veteran at something. Having given birth three times prepared me almost none for what I witnessed in Jenifer. I was surely never that strong. I surely never had that much resolve and certainly not that much control. She knew what do having never ever done it. Have you ever actually watched someone just listen to their body? It’s kind of an incredibly moving thing to see.

Jenifer had a baby early this morning. Her first ever. A son. Their son. Chris is a Dad. Jenifer is a Mom.

At 1:01am, one 7lb 2oz baby boy breezed up on into my life and I hope the lessons I learned from his mother never leave me. That I’m more than I have learned. That my capacity for hardship goes beyond comprehension. That there is no stronger force than inwardly listening to yourself. That a well-guarded secret can be the impetus behind a changed life. That little boys and little girls grow up to be Moms and Dads and that you can never ever predict what your childhood friend will look like holding her baby. Moved to speechlessness. The tears didn’t come right away. I was unprepared for the weight of watching Jenifer beam with pride for a son just minutes old. At 3am, as I was finally falling asleep…I pictured his crinkled little fist reaching up to meet her chin, and could not stop the tears for almost 6 straight minutes. It’s a beautiful thing, to bare witness to a life created. To be there when a weight shifts from importance to purpose. From selfish to selfless. To watch it happen…that’s indescribable.

Hunter Matthew Whaley

Heart stealer.

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