We’ve decided that the boy was not conceived in the Adirondacks but actually two and a half weeks earlier, on my birthday when we were on our epic trip to Turkey. The trip that was our big adventure before baby trip. Which means that the boy has been in existence for a year now.
It can be depressing or wonderful that the simple act of riding my bike for 25 minutes today was a revelation. The first blocks were pure pleasure. The whole thing was pure pleasure. It’s hard to comprehend that in my former life I could ride my bike wherever I wanted to on a summer evening. I saw a woman bike by, slim, in a pretty blue dress with toned arms, and thought this: “She’s so free.” But when I was so free it was so hard for me to feel settled. Or at peace. And I feel at peace all the fucking time now. One writer I love wrote that he didn’t feel truly grounded after finishing his first novel, or after buying a house, or coming to know his father again; it was only this, having a child, that did it.
I used to have this thing, biking around the park in the warm weather, where I would be watching the summer scene and wish that I could be a part of it. And then I’d remind myself that by virtue of being there I was in fact part of it. But it didn’t feel that way. The setting as a glossy postcard I could not enter. But now, with the boy, I always feel a part of it. I feel fully here.
It’s hard when the boy cries. And he cries a lot. Less than other babies, and more than some other babies. But these last few days he turns it up to full howling quickly and easily and his red-faced, stiff bodied crying has been punctuating our days. Both B. and I have crying-baby fatigue. Today the un-shaded blocks on our way home from our morning wanderings were our own personal Death Valley and B. lost hope a few blocks from home. We keep on trying to convince the boy that he likes the stroller. He is not yet sold, and when one of us picks him up his cries very quickly settle and he gets that this watchful, knowing expression on his face, and I imagine him thinking, “How many times do I have to tell you guys just to carry me in your arms everywhere you go and all will be well?”
But then! We brought the boy into bed under the ceiling fan and what followed was two epic hours of him napping and nursing between us. I read a little, slept a little, opened my eyes to one of B’s joyful eyes on me. When it was all done, B. said, “That was like an entire vacation.” And it truly was. The boy also slept for just the exact right half hour in the stroller today to allow us to eat ice cream cones for lunch.
You know, grown-up stuff.
What in the world did I use to do with all that time?