For a long time, I've been envisioning a sort of shout-out blog post, where I express my deep gratitude and love to everyone who has thus far helped me raise my child. And i don't mean that exactly how it sounds. I don't mean people who actually took care of Asher or fed him, necessarily. sometimes the help was less direct but just as important. People who helped me be me, and therefore enabled me to be a loving, happy mother.
There was Joni, who taught me how to cook. more than that, she taught me how to feed myself and therefore feed my child - who, when i first met joni, was still nursing and didn't care much for food at all. joni taught me the art of food. how to make nutrition beautiful and joyous, how to light candles in the kitchen and how to make everything pretty so that it brought beauty and delight as well. There was Michelle, my darling babysitter, who loved me and loved my baby and made it so that i could go out with the other "kids my age" and pretend, for those precious hours, that the world was simply a wild and endless night. Kristin found us when Asher was 3 and in an instant we had a family. we nested together, ate together, laughed together, made art together. kristin in her soft fierceness helped me and asher grow up. we all lived together in an old house in portland with creaky floors and a basement filled with vintage clothes. we planted strawberries in our tiny yard and in the summers kristin and i sat out there in sundresses and smoked cigarettes while Asher played with the hose.
i am only just getting started.
There are so many others. There was Ted, who carried Asher in his arms and heart and together they created golden light and a new language. Andrew, who told me i was strong, who helped me when i asked. Anna would drive by in her silver car filled with friends and clothes and she would strap Asher in there, too, and take him along for the ride so that I could be home, alone, for a while. there were so many others who, in their subtle ways, protected us and loved us so that we existed in a bright and glittering orb of human being. It brings me so much pleasure to reflect back to those years, to that time in Portland, and to remember all of these beings and faces. To see how they have settled into my memory - not just isolated memories, but this whole fabric of remembering who i am - they are all there.
I have not even begun to list some of my best friends. the women who brought me tea and soup, who graciously opened their hearts and homes to me and my child and fed us as soon as we walked in the door. the women who saw everything, sometimes more than i could see, and were patient and loving, who looked on with awe and wonder, who spoke with reason and clarity, who believed in magic and in hard work.
This has not been a solo project, my friends. for all the years I spent as a single mother, nearly every day was filled with gorgeous, laughing women. Asher spent nights and days as a toddler on the floor, watching us change in and out of dresses, pour wine in our glasses, put lipstick on and then sometimes take it off. He had his own toy basket at Sophie's - she kept it there so he would always be at home when we arrived. He slept in everyone's beds, he slept in their arms when i was away.
Sometimes I imagine this blog post as an acceptance speech - where one day I walk up to a podium and accept an award for raising a child, and i give thanks to all of those without whom i could never have really done it. Or, i envision it as the acknowledgements in a novel:
special thanks to sophie, for making me tea every day, and to kristin for inspiring me to have a livelihood and be creative. thank you to the boys at the coffee shop for loving us up and for fixing things that were broken and coming over when there was a major injury. thank you to catherine and rowan for being our soul mates in this particular journey this time around; thank you kellee for your endless love, thank you Anna for your eternal faith in my own being and for reminding me of the importance of self, fun, and silliness. thank you, joni, for the home and hearth and for your generosity and helping us grow. to countless others who should be named but are not yet, thank you for everything you gave me while i created this story. without you, it would not be what it is.
as i mentioned before, this post does not encapsulate (at all) the entirety of the stellar team i have had on my side for all of this. this post doesn't include my own parents and my brother, nor does it include the california crucials that have been around for the past few years during our adventures down here. these people are just as important. they have loved me just as much. my blessings are vast and numerous like the stars. this post is just a sliver of all that is. this blog post is a stop in Portland on a trip down memory lane.