karen maezen miller & cedar, canon 50d
My dear friend Maezen asked a while ago if I needed help because she wanted to come take care of me. She knows so intimately what new mothers experience. She wrote a book about hers. She's the one that has helped so many of us try to release all of our expectations and to be more gentle with ourselves. "Do you have food in your fridge?", she asked. "Can I help clean before your parents come?"
I cried when she asked. I cried because I knew I desperately wanted the help but also had my darn pride. I was afraid for her to see me in my pajamas with baby spit up all over me and my dishevelled hair and my less than perfectly clean house. I responded, telling her that I would just love her company and that she didn't need to do all those things for me. She was so patient with me. She knew and understood this pride...and it is the very reason why she wanted to offer her hand. She was there before and remembered she didn't always accept the help either. So, she gently offered me another option...a compromise, so to speak.
"I'll make you soup."
And that she did. She floated in the door with grocery bags full of the ingredients for her delicious Italian Wedding Soup. She hugged us, she got to work, she chopped and fried and filled up a pot while telling me stories with her peaceful, whispery voice. I sat on my couch, holding my babe, totally enveloped and awed at her grace and selflessness. I listened. I smelled the spices. I closed my eyes and surrendered and allowed someone to help me. I allowed the idea that at times, I will need help and that is okay. Accepting help feels good. Accepting help is community strengthened. Accepting help is feeling part of a sisterhood/brotherhood.
She walked out of our door having filled up and nourished our bellies, having listened and shared and reassured that all babies are different and there is no "one way" to do things. She didn't offer philosophies or advice but only loved and nurtured and guided us in a direction of trusting our intuition. She didn't offer solutions because in her mind, there are no problems.
Cedar was mesmerized by her. One of my favorite parts of our day together was when she was feeding him and talking with him and he stared up and into her eyes so intently. It was almost as if he was saying "I know, Maezen...I know." Such a Zen moment.
I am beyond grateful that because of our long fertility journey, I have connected with such extraordinary human beings and now that our sweet miracle is in our life, he too is blessed and nurtured by these connections.
And now I still enjoy the remnants of the day when I heat up her soup. I stir what is in my bowl and I remember the wisdom and love from that day and know that someday, someday, I will get the opportunity to give back and make soup for a friend in need.