I am writing this from Los Angeles a month late, and all of this seems a world away. Alba is sleeping with her head on my chest and her Papa is on the other side of the world. Life changes suddenly for me, there is no order. Sometimes I write notes in my phone when the feeling strikes me, so instead of trying to recollect I’ll share those from June.
(These images are from our trip to our family in North Queensland, and a visit to the community gardens near our new home. I wish I took more photos. I was disconnected from photography this month.)
While I sing Alba to sleep on the highway, with her small hand in mine, a thought strikes me and makes my voice tremble mid-lullaby. My voice holds more power than it ever has. The sound is calming her and may always be a source of comfort.
I often forget just how important I am to her, how the details of my face are more familiar to Alba than they are to me. How my mood colors her day. The patterns of my clothing are a part of the landscape of her world. I am home to her more than anywhere on Earth and I will always be her Mother.
In our new home the past has followed us. It is there in the dreamcatchers I made from twigs from the Blue Mountains hanging above our bed, the polaroids on the bookshelf of when we first fell in love, the worn teddy that was mine when I was as small as Alba is now. I love to remember it all, to stay up late with Matt retelling our shared and seperate pasts.
I’ve never been content with being content. The excitement that stirs in my chest is my drug. Yet when I feel the lows of living without stability, it’s all I want.
I lay on the grass at the community gardens and Alba runs down the path dragging my bag, she pulls out my camera and lifts the heavy thing to her face to take a photograph. I wonder if she will be a documenter too.
My little girl is growing up. Not fast, like everyone said she would, but slowly and perfectly in her own time. She spends days with my auntie and cousins now. When I call her my baby I pause and wonder if she really still is.
In the backseat of the car on the way to the hospital I hold a gauze pad over Alba’s burst blister. It is so swollen and big I can’t look. Pus and blood trickle stickily down my arm. I cry quietly, so Matt can’t hear me. My girl has been in pain for days now. I can bear my own pain, but hers cripples me.
Soon I can no longer keep quiet, I cry with all of her heartbreak and pain to come. Motherhood weighs me with sadness, with the same intensity that it fills me with light.
I trace the places where my body stretched. Softly beneath my breasts as they became heavy with milk, less softly across my sides as I grew a human being in my womb. Not so long ago I traced these places with disappointment and longing. All too influenced by the image obsession of our society and my industry. But now as a Mama I finally accept my body. And I am happy to have a body, to have life, to feel love.