Friday, August 12, 2011

Super Quien?

Clearly, by the looks of this blog, I have not achieved Super Mommy status.  Time, oh, Time.  Why have you abandoned me?

Oh wait! You haven't!

I remind myself every day that Time IS our friend.  Time is MY friend but it goes so quickly... Seems to just run by me as if on some great marathon, against the clock.  Pushing, demanding, urging me to do more.

Oh, blog, how I missed you.  

I can't believe that Sol is 14 months.  The itty bitty tadpole looking thing that I so graciously hosted in my body for 274 days, is a mini man.  His thick, black, wavy hair has morphed into a golden bronze afro. His long skinny legs have evolved into long, chunky munchkin limbs, with ever evolving "cuts" bearing testament to the strong muscles beneath the layers of milk and sweet potatoes.  His smile remains, prompted only by his inner world, or a satisfying interaction with any one of the many people he initiates contact with daily. He is a whole world.  His own likes and dislikes, standards and preferences, to color his young life.

Each morning, he sends me off with a sweet "bye bye".  He understands our routine.  Once mama grabs her bag, and kisses his forehead, she is going "bye bye".  I needn't say a word.

She later returns, plays, kisses, and hugs abundantly until it is time for Scout the dog's nightly lullaby repertoire, the occasional "baba" of milk*, and the last good night kiss.  At that point, I typically sniff his little neck, taking in the soft, clean aroma of a perfect being.  I snuggle.  I hold.  I kiss.  i tear up at the thought that each day he seems to learn something new in my absence.

Following my momentary melancholy, I beam proudly as I think that this little person is such a bright light for the world.  He smiles, he shares, he laughs, he makes kissing sounds, and even hugs on request (if he likes you).  He speaks, and understands.  In the absence of actual words, he moves his hands to punctuate his thoughts as he babbles something I am sure must be of great importance.  He resists being touched when he is not in the mood. He rests his head on your belly or chest, when he feels the need to be close.  Just 14 months, and he is an entire universe in motion.  [Here I stress "in motion", and remind myself of the random bumps and cantazos my poor baby has endured.  Oh, the early walking phase.... when will it be over?!]

So while I may not have mastered the the role of Super Mami, the lovely domestic goddess/mama/wife extraordinaire, I have certainly learned- and am learning-to be the best mother I can possibly be.  My son is a healthy, happy child who amazes me every single day of my life. He is amazing, and I am amazed at how much I have learned in so little time. And that, is super.

*Note to all my bottle haters, I will be responsible for making sure that my son's teeth don't rot. he is almost off of the damned thing.  (She smiles).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Month 3: A Viajar Se Ha Dicho!

 "Pa Mexico? Como?"

Alas, one of the many moments that I am sure we'll face as some of the players in our world scrutinize our parenting choices, has arrived.  We are going to Mexico with Solomon.  A family vacation to conclude three months of maternity leave, since I will not see a single free moment until the holidays in December.  I want to relax a bit and give Solomon my undivided attention, without the burden of doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking cleaning and doing all of the many things that we must still do, in addition to caring for him. 

We are out! To sit by the sea, and listen to the waves, and eat good food, and lounge! I need sun light and water asap! The joy of bringing a perfect, precious being into the world, does not necessarily mean adequate rest, fresh air, or sun light-- even in summer.   Recovering from a C-section has made my transition into motherhood, and back to my self (albeit a new self) that much more challenging, so we are out! 

I can't bear the thought of going back to work without having at least two weeks of changed scenery and aire distinto.  Word.


Bueno, nos fuimos, and we all survived. Mexico was just what I needed and Solomon was the perfect travel companion. Truly.  He's a little angel.  He didn't cry on the plane- even when we took off and landed. He made friends with just about everyone at the resort, and adapted as well as any adult.  No mishaps.  No travel bugs. No drama. 

Ultimately, this experience has simply proven that he will grow and adapt to the circumstances he is placed in.  It is his nature.... or maybe it's human nature.

There is no manual for child rearing, and while we should of course take reasonable precautions and always put his health and safety first, we should not limit his experience based on the fact that he is a "baby".  He is a person and will grow and learn wherever he is in the world.  He is also a spirit with this own destiny, blessings, and grace.  He will walk many paths- first with, and then without us- and he will collect memories and lessons along all of them.  That is one of the greatest blessings that God gives us, and he will have it as well. Traveling is one of the tools we have to collect these lessons. 

David and I learned about our differing parenting philosophies, and how Solomon's needs sometimes differ from what we think he needs. We also learned to let go of our fears and focus on what's good in the world, and building our strength to survive what isn't.  Solomon spent the last days of his third month communing with Yemaya and Ixchel on the beach.  He had his first bubble bath (with organic, baby friendly bubbles of course) with mom, and made friends with a World Cup champion.

David and I joined the global tribe of parents, making friends just about everywhere we went, as parents and grandparents of all ages inquired about Solomon, celebrated his wide smile, and helped us navigate through our days with baby in tow.   
We survived a tropical storm but we also released a baby sea turtle into his natural habitat.  We sent little Farai off with a prayer for a long, fruitful life, and absorbed the cheers and laughter of all of the children who released their turtles, one by one, into the sea.  I held Farai (the baby turtle) on Solomon and Khalid's behalf, and sent him off with a blessing for his survival and a prayer for my son, and all of us.  

May Solomon's life be marked by as much love and protection as this day was for the 60 plus turtles which were released by children from all over the world, on the shores of Puerto Morelos.  May Ixchel bless the turtles and the children, from her shrine just across the coral reef.  May all of our lives be rich and fruitful, like the countless Mayan women who sung on these shores in honor of Ixchel hundreds of years ago.  May all of our people be free, and our Earth protected from our vices and errors.  

Amazing how one small act can fill you up.

The spirit of all of the children's acts of liberation- releasing their baby turtles lovingly into their true habitat, and wishing for their survival- that will mark Solomon's first trip abroad.  The fresh energy of all of the newly born turtles and of the day will remind us that each day is a gift, and an act of love. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Month 2: Family Time

We were so blessed to spend half of Solomon's second month in Delaware with his cousins and aunties.  It has truly been a blessing to have some of the women of my family, particularly the ones that I grew up with, around while I continue my transition into motherhood.  It's nice to have Titi Nancy and Nicole to ask mommy questions of, and it is pure comedy to have my niece, Egypt, nearby as I breastfeed. She appears to have just discovered that boobs make milk.  Hysterical! I think I traumatized her but we all agree that this is just real life learning for little miss E!

Above all, it has been a blessing to have Solomon exposed to pure, unadulterated love.  As he grows, we grow.  In love, in spirit, in patience and understanding with him and ourselves.

And his body is growing so quickly.  Though he is still wearing newborn sizes, his transition to 0-3 months, has me teary eyed. I get all choked up when I see his teenie weenie newborn clothes and remember his little face as we struggled our way through the first few days of feeding.  He has a grown baby face now. His features are already starting to change, as his body has. 

He still looks like a mini-David, but his nose is definitely a combination of Nini and David. Amazing how genes work.... he has his great grandmother's nose... and his great grandfather's forehead.  The prominent Alba face structure, with David's chino eyes, and wide nose.  Nini's bridge.  His color is changing and he is actually getting lighter rather than darker. His hair his starting to shed, as well.

He smiles now, and recognizes our voices.  He is totally  of us. Not ours, but an extension of everything that has come before us, and everything that will be.

A family grows...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Month 1: Discovery and The Milkonator

From 6 pounds 15 ounces, to a whopping (is that a word?) 8 pounds13 ounces... My baby grows! Go Sol!

We are still discovering him.  I know that he is calm and fierce.  Sweet and serious.

Eating is serious business. My breasts can testify.  You would not believe how this itty bitty boy swings his fists and neck to get at me when he is hungry.  Yet another testament to the fact that we are animals.... born with the most basic instincts.  He pulls and prods, and understands that he must do so to get what he needs: MILK!!!

I never realized that this might be the most painful part of motherhood... for now.

The industrial milk pump doesn't help my cause. It's baby boy (aka the milk monster) on tap, or no milk at all.  Okay, we can get drops maybe but he is the ultimate milk extractor.  Wow.  Nature.

Other than that, I love his smell-- and his skin. Both are soft and perfect.  I can still feel his delicate little bones through the delicate layer of not yet fatty, baby skin.  I am afraid to hold him sometimes, for fear I might break him. He's too precious, and I am in love.  Totally smitten. so is David.

We are both a little sleep deprived, and my only job right now is pretty much feeding, changing, and bathing the bebo.  Important things.  I didn't realize that this would be about all I actually had energy for.

How quickly things change.

It is humbling and wonderful to shift consciousness and understand that it is his world. We are just his guides. and how blessed we are to discover life and it's meaning through his eyes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Solomon Amir Farai

Dear Friends,
We proudly and humbly announce the birth of our first son, Solomon Amir Farai Hernaiz Alba.  His arrival into the world is a long awaited blessing and source of the most profound joy we have experienced in our lives.  We hope that you will join us in welcoming him and blessing his path so that he may walk peaceably, justly, and joyfully through the world as he carves out his own place in it.Thank you for all of your love, support, and friendship as we carved out our own paths to meet him.  We hope that he gets to meet all of the people of his village soon! 

Marinieves Alba-Hernaiz & David Hernaiz

The Meaning of His Name
Solomon (Hebrew) Peace. Peaceable; Perfect; "One Who Recompenses". 
In the bible Solomon (son of David and Bathsheba) succeeded his father as king of Israel and wrote Proverbs; Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. Solomon praised as a wise, just and righteous ruler. 

Amir [Am-eer] (Arabic/Hebrew/Persian/Hindi) King/Prince; Commander; "Treetop"; Powerful; Proclaimed; Prosperous.

Term is used for high ranking and powerful official in the Muslim world.

[Farr-eye](Bantu-Karanga/Shona of Zimbabwe) Rejoice.  "He Who Rejoices or Brings Joy".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Wind and The Rainbow

This is one of the most beautiful stories I have heard about Oya.  It is actually one of my favorite fables about motherhood.  Maferefun Oya. Hekua Ey Iansa, Iya Mi!

Elegbara, aye-o, Elegbara, aye-o, Elegbara, modupe, Elegbara Wonfa nyem, listen and hear, and remember.
Listen my children to the tale of Oya, and her children the colors of the rainbow, a tale of questions and answers, sacrifice and healing, friendship, and trust renewed.
Hear the tale of Oya, come weary to the bone from a long hunt to her home by the black waters of the Niger. There her children are being raised by Osayin, the herbalist, and taught the ways of the woods. She clothes them in purple, and calls each by a secret name--but they see her seldom, she stays but a few days, and leaves the mothering to the old healer.
One day she does not return, the children go hungry, and Osayin is worried. He turns to Elegwa, who watches everything, and asks where she may have gone.
To the East Elegwa goes searching, far beyond the borders of the land, but though he searches far, he finds only tall grasses waving in the breeze, and tracks of the water buffalo.
To the West Osayin, himself, continues searching, far into the mountains of the Cameroon, and from a high place he seems to see her dancing, but when he gets to the plain, it is a flock of wild birds covering the seashore and the remains of a great catch of fish.
To the South, he sends Ochosi, the tracker, who often finds traces when no one can see the way. Ochosi goes hunting, seeking through the jungle, and though Ochosi is able to find traces of her journey and people who have seen her, they tell him she has gone north to the country of her people.
And so the three friends return to the village, each having journeyed and returned disheartened. The villagers are hungry and they do not know what to do as the harvest has been poor. The three counselors do not know what to do but are fearful of leaving the children without their mother, so packing their belongings, they take the children with them.
To the North, then, Elegwa, Ochosi, and Osayin go journeying with the nine children until they come to the hut of Orunmilla, the seer. He greets them, "I have been expecting you, the Fool, the Bow, the Reed. I have seen you for many days in my shells, for you come to bring home the harvest."
"What" speaks Elegwa, "I know no such harvest, I seek only my friend Oya, whose children miss her."
"It is a strange harvest--I see nine children and a mother who does not return and only now you miss her? She shall be your harvest indeed."
Ochosi spoke also. "I see her trace everywhere. The villagers speak of a brave woman warrior, dressed in black with a purple sash, who comes, stops oppression, but leaves before anyone can thank her."
"You see her harvesting justice--and you do nothing but track her traces--what must you learn?"
Osayin shook his head sadly. "I was trusted with her children, but she has left no word."
"You speak of trust," Orunmilla spoke gently, "and for that I will speak. She has come by this way, and left you these horns. Go home, and she will return when you blow them in blessing the feast."
"But what shall I tell these her children," asked Osayin?
"Tell them she will return when the hunters return from the South with no food, when the sailors return from the West with no fish, when the lands to the East are dry, then they should blow their horns and she will return."
And the three returned to the village by the river Niger disheartened. They waited for another moon and thought of Orunmilla's words. Elegwa looked to the East and saw only the shifting stars. Osayin looked to the west and saw only the birds on the seashore, Ochosi pondered the South and the strange tales of a warrior who took no food as reward. And they knew that it was time to call her home.
And they blew on the horns.
The wail of the horns died out, and there was a palpable silence. And from a distance they could here the snort of some beast come to the village. They watched and from the forest came an immense black buffalo, bleeding from many wounds, who ran at each of them, chasing them into huts as if mad with fear.
The buffalo ran about the village, once, and they thought it best to stay indoors. Twice, and they began to peer outside. Three times, and it was if they knew to wait. Four times, and the rhythm of its running made a strange dance on the drums of the elders. Five times, and all the villagers began to dance, ignoring the buffalo as it continued to run. Six times and no one could be still. Seven times and the beast began to tire. Eight times and the drums fell silent. The ninth time, the buffalo ran into the center of the village and collapsed, dead of exhaustion and blood.
The villagers shook themselves, and looked upon the beast, now dead in the village. It skin now hung in tatters, like cloth, and even as they watched, the tatters became loose, and the hooves shrank, until finally they saw Oya, seemingly dead upon the ground.
"No, it cannot be," cried Osayin, "we saw her tracks everywhere and we never suspected."
"She is the harvest we knew was to come, but not at the sacrifice of our friend," replied Elegwa.
"Only the hunter knows what it is to be hunted," observed Ochosi. We tracked her to the East, to the West, to the South, and never knew that we chased a friend. And now, she is dead."
"I am not dead," spoke a voice from the clearing, and they turned but saw no one. "I am not dead," and it was if the sky itself sang. "You see my old form, your old friend, that was but a shell. I am the spirit of the wind, and nothing will keep me from my children." And the wind blew as if a great howling of drums and Oya arose alive again, calling her children one by one.
"Not many know me as you know me, my youngest child, you shall be the Dark Mother (pulling out a cloth of Black). You will lead them by secret ways through the forest when they have lost their way."
"I have shed much blood from the spears of the hunters, you my child shall remember, you are the Blood Mother (pulling out a cloth of Red). You will always remember the blood of the warriors who fight in your behalf."
"The sun shines golden in the fields ripe for harvest, and you will always know its abundance if you call on me. You are now the Golden Mother (pulling out a cloth of Orange)."
"I blind the enemy so that they are diverted and do no harm, you I call my Shield, the sun (pulling out a cloth of Yellow). Do no harm when deflection will do."
"Osayin taught you well the patience of waiting. Sometimes you cannot see the pattern until the cloth is finished. You are now the Weaver Woman. Take this cloth of Green, as you must pull the reed when it is ripe and let it dry."
"Ochosi traced you to the ends of the earth and looked upon the sea. There my winds are forever bringing change. You are now the Hurricane (pulling out the cloth of Blue), forever changing the sea and the land."
"When justice is not done, I grow angry, and become the seeker after truth. I call you Lightning, blasting from a clear sky (pulling out a cloth of Indigo)."
"And when you are old, you will teach the young my words, for you shall be the Crone (pulling out a cloth of Purple). You will be old before your years, and call even the elderly to learn at your feet."
"And you, the eldest child, they will see but seldom as you will follow in my footsteps, invisible as the wind, you are the Dancer in the Flame (pulling out a cloth of Silver)."
Know my friends, Elegwa, Ochosi, Oyasin, that you did not fail me. You, o wondering villagers, you cared for my children even in your hunger. Now when you have need, call me by my horns and there will be fish in the sea, a harvest on the land, and meat for the hunter.
Take up the colors of my children as my token, and when you see them in the sky, know that I am there, and here, and in your heart. For you are now the Rainbow, and I am the Wind.