On the very same day that I put my "Other Mothers" blog post out there into the world, I found a package on my porch.
Inside was a stack of Curious George books, a collection of alphabet magnets, vocabulary flashcards, children's DVDs, and heaps of other gifts for Tessa. These things were from my cousin Lisa, and they belonged to her three boys, who long ago said goodbye to babyhood.
The gifts humbled me.
I set the box on my coffee table and took everything out, one thing at a time, and felt the weight of gratitude.
I thought then of another of my cousins, Kathy, who has also been drastically generous, giving our family buckets of toys that belonged to her son. Just today, Tessa was "mowing" the lawn very contentedly with a corn popper push toy handed down to her by Kathy.
And I thought, too, of all the gifts we've gotten along the way, and the well-wishes and the cards and emails I've received and the very kind things that people have said and done for us. I thought of my girlfriends bursting through the hospital doors the night Tessa was born and of my own mom, whose love for Tessa takes my breath away.
It was like someone had eased open a window and let some fresh air into a part of my heart that had grown stale.
That doesn't mean I'm sorry for having written what I wrote. It's the way I feel, but mostly the way I feel when I'm poking around places I shouldn't be--like in the comments section of attachment parenting articles. It's also the way I feel late at night, when everyone else is asleep and things tend to look crummy anyway.
In the light of day there is mostly so much goodness that's come my way since Tess came our way. Everywhere I look there are women in my life who are fearless in their kindness to me and to one another. These are the women I want to look towards and learn from and offer my love and energy to.
Speaking of love and energy, there's been lots of it expended thus far during our yummy fall here in Tennessee, which has included, but not been limited to: tomatoes and bell peppers from Nekos's garden, a free Del McCoury concert in the middle of a sunny day, bike rides, a killer Wilco concert, a so-very-fun weekend visit from my friend Brittany, a primary colors pedicure, some inspired sewing sessions, my first kale smoothie (y'all? add a banana and you'll never know. promise.), an intro to my new TV obsession Breaking Bad, pumpkins and mums on my porch, good, long talks with girlfriends, and lots of sessions spent admiring Tessa's magnificent mini-'fro-in-progress.