Here she is, my niece, Grace…
Isn’t she perfect? Isn’t she beautiful? I am in love. Absolutely in love.
And what I have to say comes to this, simply this:
Watching my sister become a mother, and watching my mama mother her own daughter so lovingly, with such tenderness and care and attention, left me reeling.
I was so overcome with emotion so many times throughout my niece’s first few days in this world—and why? For what? I am already an aunt to two amazingly adorable and sweet little boys who I love so much it hurts. I have already seen a sister become a strong, brave, brilliant mother. We—my sisters and my mother—are a family of women, who celebrate our connection and our closeness often, openly. (My father is a lucky, lucky man.)
But, I think what all those hiccups and tears come down to is quite basic, perhaps even obvious. This time around, I am 29. I am reaching a point in my life in which I know I want babies of my own. Not tomorrow. Not even this year, actually. But, I want them. And that want was so, so realized in witnessing the birth of this little girl, this baby Grace.
It is no matter, though. I say that because I am single, and because my life has brimmed over lately, and because I can’t even sufficiently take care of my self these days, let alone an infant.
Still. Some aches sit within you quietly—they keep to themselves most of the time and only tap-tap-tap for attention when in dire straights. And now suddenly, the only tap-tap-tapping I’m hearing is the resounding boom of each tick on my biological clock. Awesome.
What does one do with these thoughts?
When I stood on my mat at yoga this afternoon, I looked into my red-rimmed eyes, swollen from tears and from a severe lack of sleep for the past three nights. My body buzzed and swayed. A page-long to-do list weighed down my mind. A great thunderstorm raged against the fogged windows, and the few yogis who had made it to class looked anxious, exhausted, already weary. The rain fell and fell, filling the room with a heady dampness.
And then the teacher climbed atop the podium. He surveyed the room, took in the sagging yogis standing before him, and as though reading our thoughts, smiled and said, “Don’t question why you are here. Just be still, be present, be in this moment and no other. Just be. And begin.”
I won’t question the great heaves of emotion I felt this past weekend. I won’t fret about what all those tears and all that heartache meant. I won’t ask “why” or “when” or even “how.”
I will just be—with this moment of knowing a little girl now exists in this world, and her name is Grace, and I love her.
I will just be present—and bask in the rich, deep love I witnessed this weekend, between mothers and daughters, between my family.
I will just begin—this long trip over the United States and over the Pacific Ocean and then into China, where an entirely new and awesome journey awaits me.
Although I am scared and anxious, although I so wish I had someone to share in this incredible experience, I know I will be okay on my own, an eager explorer taking on one corner of the world, with a full and hopeful heart, with a little bit of Grace to guide the way home.