Desire! & Creature Comforts

I got to cuddle a couple of babies lately. I’m a sucker for cute babies and even when they’re a little weepy or unhappy, I’m generally glad to get to play grandma for a little while in exchange for the warmth of a wriggly tiny person’s presence in my arms. I didn’t have either the instinct or the timing to be a mother myself, but I’ve been gifted with siblings, in-laws, and friends whose babies have been the delight of my Auntie and pseudo-Granny life. In the last couple of weeks, I got to hold and cherish one of my great-nieces for the first time. What a joy!

Of course, I admit I can’t help but feel a teensy bit of envy when I hold a sweet, curled up baby, whether she’s awake or asleep. The brief part of life when you’re still consistently the most adorable person in the room, even when you’ve just spewed copious quantities of used milk on everyone in the vicinity, is surpassed only by the preceding months of cushy luxury spent doing the backstroke in the protective amniotic pool, and I think it would be lovely if I could just get hooked up to that kind of spa service on a longer-term basis.Drawing + text: Umbilical

Sweets for the Sweet (& All Others, Too)

digital illustration

Remember this…

Long-Awaited Benison

The sweetest sound the human ear has heard
Was not a waterfall or splashing brook
To thirsty thoughts; nor thirsty mind, a book
Read out; nor singer’s voice, nor whistling bird

In spring’s cool song; it wasn’t kittens’ purr
Or baby’s comfortably cooing charms
When resting safely in his mother’s arms
—Though it might then seem wildly sweet to her

It wasn’t the “I love you” of romance,
Nor was the sweetest sound of clinking gold,
—Though to its owner, that cannot grow old—
But rather, barring mystic happenstance,

The miracle of sound most truly sweet
Was Mama’s voice announcing, “Come and eat!”

Mama’s Girl

Yeah, I’m a big baby.

I’m past the half-century mark, don’tcha know, and yet the older I get the more I realize how much growing up I have yet to do, not to mention how much I am shaped by my genes and my formative years. And unlike many people, I find I am heartened and grateful when I look in the mirror and see my mother. There may still be hope I’ll turn out well.

It’s not just that I’m pleased to start looking more like Mom, though that wouldn’t make me sad in the least; I think my mother’s beautiful. But since we’re a pretty close-knit family, I like to think that enough of her more objectively wonderful qualities will have rubbed off on me over the years that I have a chance of continuing to improve with age in many other ways as well. To grow into some semblance of her patience and compassion, her grace and gentleness and big-hearted love is certainly a gift to be fondly wished.

Meanwhile, however, it’s Mama’s birthday. It’s she who should be getting gifts. But then, given my mom’s character, having her children turn out well ought to be just the sort of pretty good present she’d like most, and if my seeing her in my mirror confirms that the best I can turn out is as a good imitation of her, why then I’ll keep working and hoping and trying what I can to head in that direction. Hmmm. Maybe I should bring her a box of candy or something just in case.

Happy Birthday, Mom!digital photo

Here in My Safe Little Place

graphite drawingComfort and security, that’s what I want. And I think I’m hardly unusual in that urge. Aside from the rare adrenaline junkies whose craving for danger and life on the edge knows no bounds, most of us like to have at least one place in life, on earth or in mind where we can crawl in, curl up and feel like nothing and no one can assail us there.

While I adore travel and I treasure those people and experiences and grand-and-glorious places that it has brought to my acquaintance, there’s at least a small part of me that may always be leaning toward Home. I don’t think of myself as an adventurer by any means at all, but I’ve grown a bit more attracted to the happy mysteries of the unfamiliar or even the exotic as I’ve gotten older, and I can appreciate much better how much wealth and delight the new and unexpected can often bring into my purview. Now, what I must keep in mind instead of a constant combat against my natural urge to shun all movement outward from my safe, soft center is that my concept of that person-place-or-thing identifiable as Home has changed, and can change, and certainly will change, because that’s exactly the sort of surprising flexibility that an even minimally worldly human can experience, once the crying need for total security is breached satisfactorily.

So here goes: once more I shall leap outward in hope and expectant happiness, and all at the same time remain busily, constantly honing the cozy little hideaway that will shelter my spirit and, if need be, my self when the adventures get a little overwhelming. With a cheery wave, when I’m not too tightly coiled up with my security blanket there, I shall ever bid you all a fond goodbye, farewell, and goodnight–and see you in the morning.