in life, we are all these pieces. sewn together with time and memory and personalities and temperaments born to us… carried with us, shared between us. witnessed by those who truly see us and allow us to be who we really are.

this is a birthday. his. eight years.

his joy in celebration. his overwhelm of love. being surrounded by so many hearts that carry him, it gives him pause in the middle of it. and he finds retreat along the wall to take it all in. to process. i see it, because i feel it. sometimes too closely, i was this kid and i’m still feeling it now as an adult. i want to sit next to him and feel eight years old again.

this is his story. this is my story. this is where our stories intersect. this is the birth day.

this, this i see here is my sweet river. the interior he readily lets out for others to see. his expression, his ability to express. his joy. his rage. his sorrow. his contagious laughter. he is all boy. and he is so much more than that. he is sympathy, empathy, compassion, intensity, wonder, weakness and strength. he is power. he is vulnerability. he is confusion. he is clarity.

this, this is beauty. in a boy. in a child. in all the pieces of him that he’ll carry inside as he grows into the man he will become one day. “today i am eight!” he says to no one in particular, while looking out the window as the snow falls heavily outside. he is smitten with life, he is burdened with life. he is reality, he is truth. all the pieces tied together with bits of twine and birthday ribbons.

we are sewn together with love.

it’s snowing outside today. funny, how our bodies remember more than we acknowledge. my head is some place else while the birthday party swirls around. i’m eight years ago, in a different life: living through a story that no one here shares. no one but my son. and it’s locked somewhere deep in his subconscious. these are the invisible strings that connect us through the bodies at this party. those moments just after birth… it leaves me overwhelmed with love and joy and sadness and melancholy. the trauma, the relief, the life, the life, the life. thank you thank you thank you.

this is why mothers cry when they are happy.


happy birthday, river. i’m so lucky to be your momma.