My son, Sean was born five weeks early and was unable to breathe on his own at first. When they finally laid him in my arms a week later, I thought I would never need another thing in my life as long as I lived. That private moment in time between us was a gift to me that there are no words for. None. If I close my eyes, I can still feel exactly how it felt... like something way way beyond me had entered the world, but contained a little bit of my heart and soul in a tiny fingerprint. It's a holy thing... motherhood. It really is. A holy, precious, unnameable thing. I described it to a friend recently like this: It's a little bit like a sunny day, a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, a thunderstorm and a tsunami all rolled into one giant event.:). A really passionate symphony that you should probably buckle up for.
Last night, he conducted his jazz orchestra in front of a crowd for the first time ever and I just sat listening to and watching it all in awe. It was his original orchestral arrangement of the song Halo, by Beyonce. I think it was such a brave thing for this child who, for the most part prefers not to be in the limelight, to do. He has grown so much in the last few years and I can only imagine where his life will take him going forward. What I do know is that, no matter what he chooses to do with his life, he will likely surround himself with music and that's a pretty good metaphor for his life, really. We've always called it, "the magic of Sean" but I've often wondered if we should have called it "the music of Sean." It's pretty wonderful, if you have the chance to listen.:)
In the dark of those quiet nights in that hospital room during the first weeks of his life, when it was just the two of us, I sang to him. With soft beeps constantly sounding off around us, a respirator breathing oxygen into those tiny lungs, and nurses poking and prodding at him until the tears made silent tracks down my cheeks, I played him a soundtrack in a small boombox I brought in and placed in one corner of the room. I touched his hand through a plastic incubator and I prayed. Come stop your crying it will be alright... just take my hand, and hold it tight... I will protect you from all around you. I will be here don't you cry.
In this week of reviewing movie score after movie score, it isn't hard to choose the one that belongs to us. Shortly before he was born, Jim and I were visiting the city of Boston and I was getting tired so we stopped at the Copley Plaza Mall to rest and decided to go see the new movie, Tarzan. I thought at the time that he never stopped kicking me. But I know now... it was those tiny hands, conducting his future, and dancing his way into my heart... like a symphony.
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart, always
Why can't they understand the way we feel?
They just don't trust what they can't explain
I know we're different but deep inside us
We're not that different at all
And you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
Don't listen to them
'Cause what do they know (what do they know)?
We need each other
To have, to hold.
They'll see in time
When destiny calls you
You must be strong (you gotta be strong)
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on
They'll see in time
We'll show them together...
Sometimes, there is a space where the silence between two people is deeply comfortable. For me, it was born when they handed this child to me... in those tender moments when I first came to know him face to face. It has been the sweetest gift every day since. The privilege of being his mother is something that I will never ever have words strong enough to match. I suppose that is one more reason to be so grateful for this camera.
Today is his last day of school before summer vacation and we always straighten his wild, curly head of hair for the occasion. I love that hour and a half with him in the wee small hours of the morning. It's a special time that belongs only to the two of us. He is such a creature of traditions... they are really important to him. Later, we'll go pick some strawberries and dip them in chocolate and stay up really late on a weeknight watching a movie. He was filled with laughter and joy and peace when he walked out the door with his dad awhile later. That was such an awesome way to start my day. Next year, he will move on to the high school and I have a feeling the next few years are going to fly by.
Time... is so precious.
This morning I sit here at the table and the sun has laid down a million diamonds for me on the water. I feel life breathing back to my spirit. Slowly. I had the camera out yesterday and I took the opportunity to photograph my son's orchids which are thriving beautifully in spite of the chill. I love these flowers so much, not only because they're so pretty, but because they mean so much to him and because it is a joyful thing to watch him care for them so faithfully. I thought of him in the quiet, while I was working. He has always marched to the beat of his own drum and makes no apologies for it. I love that about him. When I photograph his orchids, I work really hard to represent that. To see them differently.. to see everything differently.. the way he does. I read a quote recently that said...
I think he does a really good job of that.
I have been searching a great deal lately. Searching for where to belong, how to belong, to whom I belong, in what work I belong. But the truth is... I'm pretty weary of that search and kind of feeling like I just want to sit down by that sparkly water again, and belong to myself. I want to spend more time listening to music and talking to people I love and less time here.. staring at a computer or iPhone screen. I want to get out there and see the places I love again and hear the waves and marvel at the stars from my bed and share a sunrise with my husband taken in from the summit of a volcano. I want to stare into the soul of a flower and say, "Hello you:)" once in awhile, without a camera anywhere near me. In fact... I am seriously considering painting a whole lot more with my words and a whole lot less with pixels this year. Four years I've been chasing this wind. I think it's really time to lay it all down and bask in it. Let it move me, surround me, ruffle my hair, fill my lungs, caress my skin.
I've long sought to see with my heart through the lens of my camera. I think this year, I'd like to see my life through the lens of my heart.