My mother was born today.
Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I thought of that miracle that took place many years ago:
My mother’s birth, the birth of my first great love, which preceded my own life.
Flabbergasted with awe, I poked open my curtains to glimpse the Super Moon. I had watched it rise earlier with my three other great loves, my husband and two sons. Jack was tired at twilight, so Andres took him home early. Max and I shared a few more minutes sitting atop a picnic table in the park and watching a bat dart across the sky illumed with blinding moonlight. Then we walked home, hand in hand, me with my first born child. Earlier in the day, Jack and I had walked hand in hand along the beach and watched our shadows do the same.
All my life I wanted love.
I imagined it, dreamed it, conjured it, searched the globe for it, grieved over it, raged for it, even tried to give up on it.
Now that I have it, it’s hard not to blink back tears at the miracle of it. How, in the end, which is also a great beginning, everything worked out exactly as it should have to bring me to this particular place and time with so many hands to hold.
And the miracle of it, the poetic miracle is that today we celebrate the moment my mother was born. I was not a whisper or a glint on that bright entry into the world.
Except I was.
Because inside her body, she already held 600,000 eggs, two of which would become my sister and me.
Upon her birth she had already carried them half of her life, because at 20 weeks gestation, all the potential for future life is already established inside of a baby girl.
That is astonishing, I hear the echo of my old poetry professor saying, as she did after reading every poem, letting potent silence fill space between each syllable.
Uh ston ish ing.
I wonder now, if I had known the poetry hidden inside of science, if I might not have been an English major. I once knew a poet who had majored in botany and shamelessly poached it for vocabulary. Her poems were beautiful and published quickly.
The paths we don’t take are always so intriguing to ponder:
all that could have been
all that is.