motherhood

CRYING, LAUGHING, KISSING, MARVELING

 

The best July of my life . . .

Was milk sweat and nipple sore. It was a toddler picking onion tops and a baby opening his eyes. It was no sleep and yes, coffee. Walks about town and a singular visit to the grocery store. July was Bob Marley, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo filling the house. It was the newborn dance of rock and sway, rock and sway. It was dad falling deeper in love with daughter. Sunflowers unfurling in the side yard, in the backyard, in the garden beds; Flowers, generally. Mosquito bites and supper in a blue dining room. It was crying, all of us. Crying, laughing, kissing, marveling.
July was growing a family.


—S

RAIN USHERS SPRING + MOTHERING TWO

 
blooming crocuses in springtime by samantha spigos
purple walled room with children bookcase filled with colorful toys and books by samantha spigos

The crocuses bloomed in our front flower bed, and Mark reports seeing red-winged blackbirds in the fields. These are the surest signs of spring I know of and, gah-lee, are they a gift. The purples, greens, and yellows — every shade of the oncoming season — is electric. Delicate and mighty; not unlike how I want to be. Crocuses are particularly enchanting, and if it weren’t such an ugly word, I might name our next child Crocus. (Cute nicknames, though, am I right? . . . little Croc-y, baby Cus Cus.) In Ohio we’ll soon be getting fragrance drunk on lilac, encouraging the peony ants, and cutting the Easter lilies. Mark and I have Big Plans including but not limited to two apple trees and a lilac bush. But first, the rain.

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose,

spring would lose its loveliness.”

— St. Thérèse of Lisieux

mother and child resting on a couch by samantha spigos

I stepped away from social media again, and if this last year of being back on Instagram after 2+ years away has shown me something, it is that I am not well suited to it. Our feed looks nice. I try to engage rather than scroll. I enjoy the visually pleasing content of others, and certainly the users we follow have helped to educate me. Yet, over and over and over, I am left with a hunger that Instagram will never sate. To be sure, it never claimed to, but there are those who seek to assign meaning to most things in life (hi!) for whom social media cannot live up to expectation. A connection chimera. Being removed from such a fast-paced, condensed world is like breathing new air. That, and the crocuses. In the brain and time space that has opened up since, I have become more familiar to myself. Like, hey girl, there you are. Certainly there remains a bit of agitation — part and parcel with any practice in detachment. When I cast aside my fear of stepping away (I will never be known! Our farm that we don’t have will never prosper! I will be forgotten!), I found that fear is nothing more than an invasive weed, stealing the sunlight from the tender, sprouting seeds below. But seeds are tenacious, and need only a bit of sunlight to begin to sprout. Sunlight, and the rain.

Oh, and another thing . . .

pregnant woman stands in front of two sourdough bread loaves by samantha spigos

During the autumn of last year, Mark and I welcomed a new life into my womb. I hardly know why today, the first day of Spring, is when I feel ready to share the news. I have worn the knowledge of this baby quietly and close to my heart, like a warm base layer. My body was quick to make the adjustment, knowing just what to do (the way bodies do), while my heart and mind adapted much slower. No one asked me to hurry. I made no public internet announcements. I walked the streets of town pondering what it meant to be a mother to a second person. I rejoiced in giving my daughter a sibling. I grieved the loss of my life as I had known it. By day I would admire my sister’s dance of mothering five children. By night I would posit questions into my husband’s ear about how we would possibly survive. Every time I named a fear and gave it over to God, surrendering my false sense of control, it was quelled. I am continually amazed at how I can go from panic to peace in a matter of seconds — seconds! — when I let go of the vice grip I try to maintain on my circumstance. Mine was (is) a slow unfolding into mothering a second child. And sharing the news with you, dear readers, is a joy. Will you walk this journey with me once more? Will you share with me your experience with a second child, or your desire to have a first, or why you love being an uncle or aunt? Finally, has spring touched your corner of the globe?


—S

THE ABUNDANCE IN UNKNOWING

 
Abundance Surrounds Us Foraged Mushroom Photo by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Cloth Diaper Baby by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Mother Daughter by Samantha Spigos

There's a Hungarian bakery in the neighboring town. It serves as the one and only place Mark and I have gone on a "date" since having a baby, and in fact the baby has joined us on both such dates. We head there for poppyseed strudel and cappuccinos. If we're being honest with ourselves, the cappuccinos we make at home are superior, and we are decidedly Bagel People. That's not why we go. We go to dream up the fields and forest of our someday land. We go to listen to the ramblings and visions of the other. We go to say Yes to a dream of a pink plaster kitchen (mine) and of growing a plot of wheat just to make a single loaf of bread (his). We go to see each other with fresh eyes. We leave deeming that This is Our Year, and it always is! When we get home—and this is the important part—the very spot we’re in feels brighter.

I admire the thick, worn lines of the kitchen. How they are precise and chaotic, all at once, I cannot say. After a year, and after dozens of loaves of bread, I finally understand the oven and where her hot spots live (right side, towards the front). I tell myself I could live here forever; I might never be ready to leave the room where my baby was born. And yet . . . and yet. What I desire in that deep, unquenchable way — I think it’s called a calling — is not here. We don’t know where it is, and that’s OK. As the weather turns, and I feel myself inhaling the crisp air I long for all summer long, I am resting in the OK-ness of not knowing. For eight months I have been learning how to be a new person; a person I never knew before. To put it far too simply, there has been much to discover and uncover. I am still a brand new woman, reborn in motherhood and learning through immersion. It’s clear that ours is a life with a slow unfolding. For now, baby; For then, farm. A divine hand is happily at work, this I know. The land and farm we desire is yet unknown, but the life we desire is the very one we’re living. Fancy that.

Abundance Surrounds Us Fall Donuts County Fair by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Sourdough and Organic Tomatoes by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Seasonal Flower Bouquet Dahlias Zinnias by Samantha Spigos

In other news. . .

I recently had an essay of creative nonfiction published in Taproot Magazine, titled “Cattail Day”. It was my first piece of writing published in print, and I am still overjoyed that it was included. If you are inclined to my style of writing, you will probably enjoy every piece in Taproot. I hoped to include a link for purchase, if you were interested, but I see that the issue that includes my essay is sold out! An excerpt from “Cattail Day”:

“More than twenty years later,

I anticipate the day I can welcome my own daughter into the magic of unknowing,

the sort that beckons even adults to enter into the mystery of Wonder.”


—S

MOTHERHOOD RISING

 
Mark and Sam 9 2017.jpg

Happy 2018! If by chance you, like us, have ushered in the new year under the deep freeze of Winter, I hope it has been coupled with warming beverages and hearty food. More than that, I hope you and yours have stayed safe and well shielded from the elements. My heart feels very drawn to the poor and homeless among us seeking shelter and sustenance. In my rural locale you don't see homeless men and women on the streets, but if I did, I wonder how I might respond. I hope with a charitable, trusting heart. If nothing else, now is a time of year to work on being genuinely grateful for a warm home and ample clothing, not begrudging of the inconveniences the cold brings. Following along with our farmer friends in the Northeast is no joke — it's cold, and while animals and farmers alike are hardy, they are all pushing the limits of their working bodies. If you are one of the many working with and through the elements, bless you! And thank you. 

Mark and Sam 11 2017.jpg
Mark and Sam 3 2017.jpg

I am acutely aware of how different life would be if we hadn't moved home. For one thing, we'd be in this cold every day, caring for goats. At least, Mark would be. I might be wiling away the time knitting by our woodstove. Ah, how we long for you, woodstove! I miss putting my body outdoors and feeling the harsh air on my cheeks. I miss throwing hay and crunching snow under my work boots. This year, instead of all that manual labor, I am hugely pregnant, preparing for the biggest labor of my life, and walking up and down stairs is enough. All of my body's resources are inwardly focused—baby gets (and deserves) it all. 

We are mere days away from being cataclysmically blindsided with love when our baby finally comes earth-side. Every day is a lesson in patience as I slowly waddle around my house and wonder when shim will feel ready to be born. Every day is a lesson in cherishing this fleeting time when it's still just Mark and I. Every day is a lesson in forfeiting the desires of self for the needs of the baby. Here we are, nine months into a whirlwind pregnancy that started with us feeling scared and excited, and wraps up with us feeling eager and oh-so-ready. I want to be a mother. Mark wants to be a father. Every night before bed, and every morning when we wake, we talk about cuddling our child. Our very own! An actual breathing, thinking, sentient human being. Is there anything so equally magical and practical as new life? Advancing the race is the purpose of being alive, and yet it is the most miraculous act I can possibly conceive of. Motherhood, I'm coming for you.

Mark and Sam 6 2017.jpg

Photos were taken at 36 weeks by our dearly beloved best friend, Andrew Enslen.


—S