I am the desert rose

The string of moons come spring are my most favourite of the year. And while I would deem fall my absolute favourite season, the lunar grace after winter definitely holds my heart.

The encouraging Pink Moon. The romantic Flower Moon. The eager Strawberry Moon. They are the freeing breath after the heaviness of winter.

They remind me that we are always growing. We are always changing. Morphing. They remind me that even when the nights are cold, long and hard, spring is coming.

This Flower Moon marks my very first Mother’s Day. It has me reflecting on the past year that birthed me into motherhood.

When I dream about what growth looks like, I see beautiful petals pressing up into the sun, eager to drink in its plentiful rays. But my year has hardly felt this way. Rather, I feel as though I’m a shard of desert rose, attempting to twist out and grow anew, but furling in on myself in a gnarly web.

I was slumped over in defeat during my son’s last nap. Instead of tidying the home while he was silent, folding laundry or working on a piece of fiction, I napped in the room beside him. I briefly opened my eyes mid-rest, saw a smudged stain of pureed prunes on my thumb and wrist, and closed my eyes again to succumb to a deep exhaustion.

Instead of simply wiping them away.

I feel tired.

And I’m not sure how those mashed prunes ever left my skin.

When I reflect physically on my year, I have indeed transformed. Gone is the plump, swollen belly shielding my unborn son; a soft, stretched out fold in its place. My hair has crept down my back; grays peppering my black crown.

I feel as though I have lived ten years instead of one as my son reaches for his first birthday. He, too, has transformed. Gone is the six-pound pile of tiny bones, with skin gentle and loose with newness. Gone is the gummy, toothless mouth that first smiled at me. Gone is the smooth skull fresh from birth. A full head of dark hair takes its place, along with strong legs that can crawl, squat and walk.

I know he will continue to reach for me for a while, and that I will still be faster and stronger than he is.

But it will be a strange day when he out paces me. Or when I ask him to lift the heavy couch down the stairs. Open a tight jar. Push the fridge back into place.

I wonder if by then I’ll be an even tighter, crisper desert rose, or if I will have finally reached up toward the sun, ready to drink in its own maternal warmth. A garden rose. Pink, plump, happy.

It’s disorienting to peer back even five years ago. To remember the face that stared back at me in the mirror. Young. Alive. Wild. I was ready to challenge anyone and anything.

But I was hungry for spiritual prowess.

I wasn’t someone who dreamed of motherhood. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I saw or what I hoped for when I tried to peer into my future. I just saw a feeling.

I find I crave aloneness, a deep solitude that has no tiny hands touching me, no strong romantic hands touching me, no soft and fuzzy paws touching me – just an aloneness that has me bathing in the quietude of allowing myself to grow. Allowing myself to unfurl from a year of tight stiff tension. Unfurling from the chalky dust of the desert rose.

I long to be surrounded by a garden of growth that has me accepting and feeling at peace with what I find there. This year has had me living day-to-day: surviving on autopilot, and living just to rest. I wake up only to look forward to when I will next sleep. As if I am living just to sleep.

I remind myself that one day, I will look back and cherish these times; that I will long for them. That I will wish I could hold my baby in my arms and rock him until his eyelids bow down to their heaviness. One day he will be too big. One day he will be big enough to hold me.

But now isn’t that time.

Now is the time of the desert rose.


Originally written for New Moon Project.