A disclaimer, a Link, and a Letter

When I started this blog I called it Journey Mama because I wanted to capture some of what it is like to be traveling as a mom, some of what it is like to be me. What I didn't know is how hard this is. The capturing, I mean. I am a person of details. The little mundane things of life are so much easier for me to speak of than the great, spacious sense of freedom that is traveling for me. Chinua teases me about this. About how we can pass mountain vistas and I almost won't say a thing, but I cannot pass a forest without saying... well, he usually says now, when I open my mouth, "I know I know... you love the way the light looks when it's shining through the trees..."

That is my disclaimer. But I will try to write about my journeys this month. I will try. The first thing you should do is go and read this, because it is a really good explanation of what a rainbow gathering is.

And right now I will post some stuff that I wrote on the way there. Like this: the Leaf Baby's five month letter, which I wrote on the 20th. The most philosophic letter to a baby ever. (I can't help it, this is what the road does to me)

Dear Leaf,

Today you are five months old. I've been thinking a lot about babies, and how they say that the first year of a baby's life is when he bonds with his mother. And I think about bonding-- how it feels like finding one another, now we can't describe it in terms of time, rather, how it could be charted, like coordinates on a graph, or like longitude and latitude, or like a long sea journey. You are somewhere to the south of me, I am north of you-- we move together every day. Everyday we are closer.

Lately this bonding is almost unbearable. When I walk into the room it is as though I am on the red carpet and there you are, cameras popping. The only other times in my like that I've had anyone express so much pure delight for my simple presence were when your brother and sister were the same age. It was just as beautiful then, just as healing, but I still feel now like I've never been so happy. I've never been so blessed as I am right now, when you see me and a light turns on inside you and sometimes you even start laughing.

It can be scary, too, like yesterday, when the RV we are traveling in started having trouble. My first thought, my first gut feeling was a sort of wordless passion and despair over my need to keep you safe. God has done a miraculous and terrifying thing-- my well being is tied to yours.

We are bonding.

And you can almost think, when your children are growing and your two-year-old is now her own person-- the type of person who collapses in grief and anger when you dare to try to wash her face-- what is the point of that first year of bonding anyway, if we are going to become more and more separate? If one day you will actually move away?

Everyday I will release you a little bit more, and yet I hear, and believe deeply inside of me, that this bond that we have right now forms a huge part of who you are, that this is the foundation that your person is built on.

And I think we have missed the point somehow, when we make bonding about schedules or no schedules, breast or bottle, whether babies play on blankets or are worn on their mothers' bodies.

It is when I walk by you and you smile at me, so I stop what I'm doing to pick you up and hold you for awhile, maybe for an hour. Everything in you is delighted in me and everything in me is delighted in you. From this you learn that you can change the world, if you want to, by the force of who you are. If you smile, if you cry, I will come and get you.

And, in secondary news, you can roll over from your back to your front now, you love music, you sing in a creaky little voice, you say "ba ba ba", you pinch us with your little nails and you are getting to be really really interested when we eat.