The Day You Came
Wanda Ruby Bean
From a distance the sound of familiar footsteps enter, softly resonating the hallway boards. That long cool passage welcomes and grounds the energy of arrival, and those footsteps always speak to me of strength, confidence and calmness. They are slow, they are regular, and they belong, each time they place themselves down, yet there is a lightness to them that contains their energy, allowing them to change their course. These are the footsteps of my father. They are the rhythm.
There is a second set of footsteps proceeding, which skate and dance on the surface. They have the same base confidence whilst infusing a melody of willingness, playfulness and excitement, the footsteps of my mother.
As the footsteps reach the end of the passage, time and space briefly pause. The early afternoon sun has just begun to creep through the wooden blinds and open door, filling the room with the blissful warmth and breeze of a perfect day. From over backyard fences and beyond, a relaxed inhabited neighbourhood enters the room, joining us in building the sense of this gathering and impending celebration.
We are all here now, and it is soon to be that you will join us.
Joy is here – she kneels by the pool quietly guiding me to allow you to work your way down, and to allow my body to open by degrees until your head can come through. She squeezes a cramp from my thigh. I bury my face into the crook of her arm. Our eyes meet and I tell her ‘I’m glad you’re here’.
She gives me the practical confidence at this stage that I need to enjoy this moment and to trust the forces and the will of my body and yours.
Hamish is here – he has been on the edges, balancing between active support and giving me space. He has prepared the room in the final hours to absolute, in timing, function and style, invited the guests, thought about lunch, and even got the bins out in time for collection. And as only Hamish could, has peppered his day with a set of slightly mad but comical dramas.
He is beside me at the pools edge. He even offers up his flesh for my bite, a running joke we have had. I appreciate it but decline, briefly gnawing on the pool instead. He holds me, and I tell him ‘Beano is coming’. We exchange a look of excitement and bemusement, the humour we share about this realisation that has never yet really sunk in. I don’t need physical or emotional support from him, I need to include him in this moment and feel the union that we are in order to bring you into our world together.
Mum is here – she peeps shyly over to me holding a face and breath of thrill, anticipation and quietness. The same energy I recognise at times that I have been witness to an animal birthing. ‘Hello’ and my wide eyes greet her in smile. I am relieved she has made it in time, and relieved that this is the moment she has arrived. Before long she slips easily under Joys instruction to prepare warm towels and other things in preparation, as you are nearly here. The combination of gentle mothering and practical assistant is the perfect and natural balance of how I had wanted to share this journey of womanhood with her.
Dad is here – a welcome addition to the arrangements. He primarily came to deliver mum and take Velouer out for a walk. As it turned out Velouer is completely calm. It is so close to the time you will arrive th0at he stays quietly in the background. I am happy he is here, and want to tell him. Under my breath I invite him to stay. I don’t think anyone hears me but the atmosphere as it is, is enough for him to feel welcome and comfortable to stay. I feel an extra sense of love and significance that he does.
Velouer is here – my beautiful loyal dog. He has been with me throughout. In the early hours of the day he lay beside me, calmly and comfortably as I worked physically and vocally with the surges in my body. It had been thought by others that he would be distressed by the energy of my birthing. I knew that he would be fine, and I had wanted him here. We are part of each other and we understand on an instinctual level. He gives me comfort by just being, eyes to talk to, and an energy of calm. He gives me space but is there, there to protect me as people arrive, and there to accept and welcome the people as he knows them. He takes his place as he always does amongst the people and space in the room. I tell him ‘good boy’.
I am here – I have always been here with you, and until now had you all to myself… although you have kept yourself well as a little mystery, a quiet enigma.
In the hours of this day I have re-found the essential core connection to my body, brought my mind in and allowed and trusted the forces, the choices and the beings that surround me now.
Just one little wild card is you. As my body works in the final stages to release and expel you I embody a physical memory of a young goat birthing her first kid. She lays in the hay calmly allowing the process, as the head finally pops out beyond return, a brief flash of shock and then realisation of what this labour is all for comes across her face. Then the long glorious quiver as your body swims from me and comes up to land in the air, our bodies skin to skin.
You have arrived – a tiny little stranger person. Taking your first breaths with sleepy eyes blinking quietly, with little wrinkled hands you gently play and clutch at the air. You take a shy little peek up to me. I hold you to my belly and paddle the warm water over your body with my hand, letting us the time to readjust and take it in.
Everyone is having their own special moments with you around us. Like a conglomerate of prismatic bubbles floating gently in the earthly sun filled room.
Wanda Ruby Bean - we love you to pieces already.