Joy Abounds

It was three and a half years ago that I birthed my baby daughter into this world; into the water she was born, and altogether strange-and familiar-looking she was—but that girl, oh, that girl – she was mine. In her face I saw my mother, I saw myself, I saw her dear father. I saw galaxies. But even then I knew not what endless gift she’d provide me with; she, magical, miraculous and mystical, gave me love like no other.

Are there spirits in this world more jovial, more hope-filled or more life-giving than our children? From the day upon which we begin our journey together, mother and child, we find a wholeness together that nary would either of us ever find apart.

I study all traces of evidence of my daughter’s existence that float around our home – the bath crayons and rubber ducks strewn around in the tub; unintelligible notes scrawled over my grocery lists; never a match to be found for each of the stray socks littered around various rooms in our home. I watch her fly around the house recklessly, treating furniture like a play structure; I reprimand her for being underfoot in the kitchen; I beg her to take her pandemonium outside. I revel in each new accomplishment and milestone I watch her achieve; and all of this, wrapped tightly into our days together, amounts to an experience I’d not trade for the world. I adore every last iota of grace and chaos that comes with being a parent—without them, without my daughter, I’d be that halfway-living version of myself I once was.

She, my chaos, and I, her calm, we dance in circles around one another. I am grateful to her for her tender presence; for each back rub, for the way in which she closes in on my body with her own. She fits inside my arms like she was made for me. And when she laughs, I marvel at the light in her eyes – a light that the world would never have known should she never have come into existence at all.

I kiss her temple and feel the warmth of her skin on my lips. I feel her heart beating and I feel mine, beating in my chest for her. She sucks her thumb and studies my face intently as tears well up in my eyes. I melt into her.

And when those tears do well up, when life swells with such fervor, when each breath feels weighted and luminous all the same—is that joy? Is that deep gratitude? Well, of course it is—all of it. Each wave of heartache, each burst of static love – all of it amounts to the greatest joy we’ve ever known. Life is rich; it is a wellspring of love. It is at times desolate. But is always a blessing abounding in goodness should we seek it out.

This, a love letter to my daughter; or a love letter to love and to life itself—this is my acknowledgement of inherent goodness, of hope and of blessing in a world that can otherwise be so wrought with trouble. I watch myself wrestle with my despair; I am apt to get swept up in a funnel cloud of distress, easily bent and broken when the walls start crumbling at my feet. Hardship exists around us; but where do we focus our attention? Do we lift our eyes up, seeking an escape, always looking for the light? Do we meet love where we find it, do we grasp it with driven intent, and do we gather up all ounces of goodness as we come across it?

Our hearts are full in part because we work to make them so, and in part because we cannot help but usher in love when in the presence of loves both great and small; by all that which propels us to be good and whole and true. As mother, I am raising up the embodiment of Love Herself.

What a blessing it is to call myself mother; to live through every instance of struggle, of heartache and of healing that accompanies a life alongside my growing girl. To have formed her inside my body, to have birthed her into this world, to have fed her at my breast and to foster a life with her, raising her up as I watch myself grow in kind—it amounts to joy like none I have ever known.

I will continue to march onward, soaking up all slivers of light that I come across. For it is my very honor and privilege to walk upon this earth at all – and to do so alongside my sweet girl, my walking miracle, my dear heart on two feet ­– this is my deepest blessing indeed.

 

JOURNALIST: Sandy Jorgenson