With no divided heart

Published on Friday June 1st, 2012

Dear Little Dipper,

It’s now a matter of days until we meet you. (The oddity of that statement still strikes me just as strongly as it did when I carried your sister, both as regards the peculiar slippage of time when one awaits a new baby and in the queerness of anticipating a first meeting with someone who already shares my blood, my food, and my innermost space.) I have not come this far without trepidation and doubt. Am I ready to commit my body to the all-consuming effort of bringing you into the world? Can I be a good mother to two small people at once? Can I tend my relationship with Ada while developing one with you? You are shifting our family forever; I will rejoice in your presence and in our new dynamic… and I can’t say goodbye to the threesome we have been without a lump in my throat.

Your sister is just developing the imaginative capacity to see things as other than they appear. Eating a string cheese this morning, she prodded a strip of it on her plate and exclaimed, “Wom! Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.” (Then, with an enormous grin, she bit it in half, which I’m glad to say she hasn’t tried with an actual worm.) I believe the translation of Mama’s round belly to a tiny and demanding baby is still beyond her, though. Frankly, I’m not sure it isn’t a little beyond my far more experienced imagination. Who will you be? An astonishing live miniature person with punching, pedaling limbs, we certainly hope. An endlessly questing mouth. What qualities of your nature will you show us right away, and which will you reveal as you grow? Will you sleep for longer stretches than you seem to in the womb? (A mama can dream.)

This week you’ve dropped lower in my body, and having lowered my center of gravity, you’ve helped ground my mind as well. My first set of questions is the flighty set, heavy as they are. Those nervous wonderings won’t roost in content. Welcoming you is a thing I must do with no divided heart, to lift a line from Ivan Doig. So I choose curiosity and humor and incipient magic. I choose you and the family I have, all of us “gadda,” as Ada says — together — with a circling finger when we perch on tiny chairs around her little table in the kitchen for supper. Come when you will, little one.

And look, I have handknits for you:

Milk Infant Top by Brandy Fortune; matching cap improvised by your mama

These colors remind me of cinnamon toast and I expect they’ll be quite fetching on you. The hat will probably only fit for a week, and the jacket not a great deal longer, but I can’t wait to bundle you into them.

This quilt isn’t for you (more on that soon), but it’s ahead of yours in the queue because it’s for someone who already had a birthday, so if you’re waiting until everything I’m making for you is complete you might be stuck in there for several weeks more. I’ve discovered I can handstitch a quilt binding at a rate of about one yard per hour — that’s with good light and no interruptions — and there are seven yards remaining. I don’t expect you to tackle that kind of math for a few years yet, so I’ll interpret for you: your mother doesn’t lack vision or enthusiasm for this craft, but she’s by no means an adept. Then I’ll need another five or six hours to bind yours. But you’ve got a lovely quilt from Great-Aunt Jennifer just waiting to tide you over. It has birds on it. (Your sister thinks it’s hilarious to point at them and chortle, “Fried eggs!” but any object in the house is fair game for that treatment right now. The only thing funnier than fried eggs is purple eggs.)

I’m going to finish your Baby Surprise Jacket tonight. That’s how ready I am to meet you, smallest.


your mama