Team 2013

Something strange has happened to me since becoming a mother: I can't stop seeing people and wondering what they looked like as babies. The neighbors, the teller at the bank, the homeless man sprawled out on the sidewalk. I look at these people and I think "this person had a mother." I look at these people and want to say, "your mother wiped your ass and kissed your cheeks and hoped for you to live a beautiful life."

That's where we all came from - from moments of overwhelming love. Even the most broken of homes must have had several intense moments of a parent's love. What a unifying feeling for us all, to know that our diapers were changed by someone who hoped for our best.

Regardless of politics, religion or race, those are our foundations.

We have been embraced by the world this year. Our collective community, near and far, held doors for me as my belly swelled, sent handmade gifts for our boy, held us through tears when parenting was too intense. I will never forget the doorman who walked alongside me as I made my way out to the cab on our way to the hospital; he walked slowly next to me, his hands held out as if to support me the whole way. I bought used baby items from moms in Brooklyn, women who took a few minutes to recommend pediatricians and play groups on their front stoops in the summer sun. The breastfeeding support group I've been going to has brought me to tears every single meeting, when another mother inevitably breaks down and cries, admitting how hard this all is or how much they need a shower or how lonely they are. 

In the sweetest way possible, I have been parented by the world this year, preparing to become a parent myself. And oh, I am grateful for such community. In the face of recent tragedies, I can't do much else than hold tight to these pillars of support and believe in the good of people.

This must be my foundation.

I am more drawn to spirituality since giving birth, since watching our boy grow. Yes, he is flesh, but he is also soul. He's a little someone in there, emerging a little more every day. What an honor to parent such a sweet little soul. 

And what of my soul? And of my husband's? I discovered a band a few weeks back called The Hunts, specifically a song called Lifting the Sea. "It's amazing, it's amazing," the female vocalist sings, "isn't it crazy, isn't it crazy that you and me are both in this world?" 

This is how I feel about having coincided on this planet with the souls of Chris and Noah and everyone else we love.

And if there is a god, She must be a woman. If I am moved to tears thinking about the baby we created, She must be bowled over every moment by the magnitude of love She has for the entire world of her creation. Such is the love of literature, of religious promises, of decrees and testaments and belief systems. The love of a parent: the foundation of everything the world religions believe. Powerful stuff.

From the Dave Eggers interview in the Harvard Advocate that inspired No Is For Wimps
"Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters."

A few weeks ago my sister said something on the phone. "Everyone has their own burden," she said. "You just might not know what it is."

One of the things I want most for Noah is to afford others the benefit of the doubt and to consider the burden that others around him are carrying. I cannot expect this of him if I am not an example of this myself and so I'm committing myself to finding the good in people in 2013. It is so much work to be everything that Eggers says, but that's how we make our world better and that's how I can give back when I've been given so much. That's how I can encourage my son to grow up with as little judgement in his heart as possible.

We're all on the same team. If anything, the shootings in Newtown confirmed that, leveled the field where we all agree that no child deserves to be shot at his elementary school. We have that in common. So let's go from there.

Next year's theme is Team '13 and I'm excited to appreciate, marinate in and hug lots of people. Happy New Year, you lovely, lovely friends. I am so very grateful for you. xo

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