I write this on an old spiral after a day at dog obedience school, clearing out branches and logs from the storm, and shuttling to and fro the repair shop... the flotsam of suburban life.
As I change clothes, I look down at my Vestal belly, untroubled by improvements and besotted with metaphor. It is Greek Hestia's belly, or the Victorian "Angel at the Hearth," or the Hearth itself where babies are warmed, a Garden where babies are grown.
In college it was tight and brown and good to look at, good for tanning and pink bikinis. But it has been about more important business since then. Now it is good for holding babies. It is good Rx for scraped knees and stubbed toes, a pillow for tired brown heads in church, a place to bury your face when you feel shy or afraid, a warm and friendly place.
It is stretched and functional, criss-crossed with the lines, scars, and shiny stretches of 3 bonnie babies and several surgeries. It bears the haphazard tic-tac-toe of gestation and trauma, the hard work of hammering out and making people. My dad (a military man) remarks on the scars, "Your Marine friends would be jealous."
William...once and years ago you were a baby inside, elbowing my abdomen, forcing me to take up your desperate agenda. One inch of skin separated me from you. One inch of skin and womb between mother and son, and it may as well have been a mile. There was a human pressed to my heart and kicking my ribs, and I had never met him. I hadn't met you.
I'd seen many strangers and never you. And there would be no hurrying our introduction -- that grand introduction. The brutal miracle, this labor of desire, forged by your father's heat and shaped in your mother's lap -- and you, a different soul, separate from us, little squawking man. And now my brown-eyed boy, catcher of baseballs, reader of science encyclopedias, eater of large cookies... irrevocably you.
God's creation. Holy to the Lord. Never early, never late. I wait.