Friday, September 14, 2018

umm maybe this is becoming a sappy parenting blog part 1 of 17,000: the songs in my head

Okay, so I'm almost a month into this parenting gig, and so far I like it. 

When Zeke was first born, I made a big list of "things that seem important that i want to think more about later."  A buddy of mine is in recovery and we talked a bit later about how those early days in the hospital were a bit like his experience of his first week sober: suddenly everything is intense and real, and there's big major life change stuff to think about, but also there's a bunch of logistical and survival stuff to do, and so some stuff you stay awake thinking about, and other stuff you nod at, and make a mental (or literal) note to reflect on it more later.

So right now, Zeke is half asleep kind of across my lap and my computer is under him, and if I keep typing fast enough it kind of bounces/ jostles him in a way he likes, so while he slowly falls asleep or works on pooping or whatever he's up to, I thought I might go back to my list and see whether I still have something to say about this whole baby project.

I feel like this project needs a bunch of caveats, among them that I'm doing parenting on easy mode as a white cis guy who's from a middle class background and firmly operating in a middle class space these days, with a partner who's a woman and all of that, and this is still the hardest (and best) thing I've ever done, so who knows if this will be lovely or annoying for other folks to read.  But I'm still pretty sleep-deprived, and I guess I'll just launch in.

I want to talk about the songs in my head while Rachael was in labor.  There's a lot to be said about that experience and that story, and most of that feels like Rachael's to tell more than me. 

But one of the songs that was in my head on that longest of days was "A Golden Thread," which I know as a Pete Seeger song.  "Oh, had I a golden thread, and a needle so fine, I'd bind up this sorry world, with hand and heart and mind...  in it I'd weave the bravery of women giving birth..."

Look, I feel like it's not breaking news to say that women giving birth, are, you know, impressive.  But after being in the midst of this up close I have to wonder how much of patriarchy is a startle response, a deep fear of the kind of power that is present in labor, in all the kinds of life-making that mothers and other women do for children and babies and a bunch of humans. 

Another song that was with me was "Bread and Roses," which has some of the same energy.  It feels problematic to equate this energy with what will save us- I don't thing that laboring women need to also save the world, lord knows they've got their hands and bodies full.  But something about the strength and ferocity of that, something about the way that kind community gathered around and made space for that, our doulas and our midwives and hospital folk: there's something about the space that is made for that, and it's not unlike all the other times I've seen bodywisdom fiercely proclaimed.  But still, there was a certain kind of fierceness and clarity to it, that I've rarely seen so clearly in this life. 

And honestly, I thought of a song that I am secretly writing for one of my colleagues, someone who loves people relentlessly with the fierce love of the divine.  Because there is something about that love, that literally embodying the presence of jesus in ways that are sometimes overwhelming and weird for others, that obviousness and almost-brutal passion for whoever walks in the doors- ther's something about that in labor, too. 

Oh, and Dar's The One Who Knows.  Cause, you know, love and stuff.

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