They start earlier now, for one.
I’d forgotten the level of relief you find in the sun’s waking. I’d forgotten how dark the nights could be, how long they stretched, how heavy a newborn’s head feels on your chest during a 2am feeding. I’d forgotten how you’d doze off, blink, then hear a baby whimper and resurface for the routine all over again – feed, burp, change, feed, burp, swaddle. Rock, rock, rock. Sleep, with hope?
It feels endless, but at 6:32, the sun rises and you find comfort in the light. Something else has awakened. You’re no longer the only one.
And then, around 7, another sun rises, asking for snacks and to watch Beat Bugs. The day has begun.
When I was newly pregnant with Bee, I’d walk the dogs two miles around the local park, dreaming of the day little feet would be syncing up next to me, falling in step, meeting my stride.
And then the little feet arrived, and they had other plans.
Bee: the fast one, the runner, the go-do-see, the Hurry up, Mom! She’s never been much for hand-holding; certainly not for falling in step.
But lately, a shift.
Want to take a walk? I ask as she crunches an apple, cashews. You can carry your baby.
And you can carry YOUR baby! she says.
Deal, and the Supergas are laced.
I am eager for the fresh air, for an extra dose of the sun’s energy. She is eager to chat, to meander, to walk gingerly. Wait for us, Mom. Careful, please. My babies.
I, too, used to be just like Bee: the fast one, the runner, the go-do-see, the Hurry up, Mom! I’d never been much for hand-holding.
But then, a shift.
We stop at the park for swinging, a quick break before the walk home. She asks me to hold her babies, asks me what color crickets are, or is this one a grasshopper? (Cricket.) I watch her chase after a bunny, I watch her run toward the slides.
I watch and watch and watch, all the while swaying with the one who has fallen asleep on my chest. Somehow, we have found a rhythm.
Three different planets orbiting the sun together – speeding, slowing, learning to make space.
When will my brother walk? she wants to know.
When he’s ready, I say. Maybe a year?
A year is forever, she says.
A few more minutes, I say as she swings on the monkey bars. It’s time for breakfast.
And that’s just what we do. We play a few more minutes, then walk home to scramble eggs, cut tomatoes, wash peppers. But somewhere between the park swing and the omelette, it occurs to me that our morning walks have become more parallel than I know.
That she is becoming a sister in the precise way I became a mother: stepping slowly ahead, carefully, quietly, with great focus. Aided by the sun. Unsure of her path, but happy to have some company along the way.
This is an essay for Zappos, my go-to shoe brand that carries our favorite Supergas. Speedy shipping, incredible service. (We wear these and these on our morning walks, if you’re curious!) Thanks for reading!