this past sunday, 18 dear friends squeezed into my tiny home for my mother blessing. my doula and dear friend, kimmy, threw this for me as a way to gather the women in my life around me to offer up words of encouragement and surround me with good energy as i enter the last weeks of pregnancy (she can come any day now!).
when i was pregnant with ramona i had beautiful baby showers thrown by both friends and family, near and far. they were so special and meaningful and certainly helped set jp and i up with what items we needed for the arrival of our first child. a mother blessing is different. it is all about the mama and enveloping her with love and courage and community. i was blown away. you will see that in all photos i am trying so very hard to hold it together (a feat not accomplished. there were some ugly-cry-snort-laughs that made their way out of my mouth).
the afternoon started with us all going around introducing ourselves with our first names, as well as the names of our mother and our grandmothers. “i am emily. daughter of marcella. granddaughter of marilyn and gloria.” (seriously, if you’re in the market for a beautiful girl’s name, have all of your friends send you the names of the women in their lineage!). we all come from somewhere and from a line of women and to hear these names verbalized by all of the women i cherish connected me deeply to them and their story and to all of the women that have come before and given birth generations ahead of me.
then robin and lynn (you know them from how much i gush about r.l. linden & co) sat down at my feet and gave me a foot bath, followed by a foot and hand massage. while they did this, the women went around and shared blessings and positive words they had chosen for me for this occasion. i was a weepy mess, so overwhelmed with the kind and generous words people were bestowing upon me and the unborn little bug in my belly. i even had friends from new york city and washington state send in audio blessings. like i said, a weepy mess was i. there was wendell berry, mary oliver, heather armstrong, anglican blessings, and the words of many others read. words about the strength of my body. words about the legacy i was continuing. words about my strength and life force. words about family and daughters and sisters. words of humor and words of the utmost seriousness.
following this the women filled out two cards. the first was wishes for baby, an idea i had stolen from a baby shower thrown for me for ramona. friends filled in the blanks of wishes for little bug. then these are sealed up in an envelope for jp and i to open on little bug’s birthday. my friend, cate, from kin collective designed these for me. then on a sheet of gold vellum, they put down mantras for me. these were then strung up in the corner of my dining room where the birthing tub will be. and they’re great reminders for me to look at in the days leading up to whenever little bug decides to arrive!
my friend, lashley, gave each woman a candle to light upon hearing that i’m in labor. and finally, i made bracelets with african trading beads for the women to wear up until the birth as reminders to think of us and send good juju our way. phew. so much love and so many good vibes. it was a sacred time with the special women in my life. and i have no doubt that i’ll be able to carry what was given to me on that sunday afternoon into labor and a safe delivery for this little one.
these are ramona’s best friends. there is something so amazing about watching her form relationships and memories with other little ones and people beyond me. i watch how she plays and communicates and asserts herself and accommodates others. she has fun, she gets confused, she loves hard, she tackles, she giggles and chases and watches and learns. the thought of her “leaving the nest” to go to preschool, even if just for half days, is becoming less and less foreign and scary to me. she will thrive fantastically.
invite all your friends over, especially the friend with the pot belly pig. have it lap up your spilled beer and then frolic with (and head butt) your goats.
the tiny pig (aptly named francis bacon) will also remind you of how that pig roasting under the coals (see photo above) was also once a cute piggly wiggly. this will both be weird and amazing.
teach your daughter to pour beer from a keg,
and she will bring you beer all night long.
don’t forget the ridiculously-large-sized jenga and ice cubes.
this past sunday we celebrated the resurrection of jesus christ. this is the most important holy day in the christian faith and one that has always been dear to me — obviously for the significance of historical events as well as the ways i’ve celebrated it in the past, both with my family, with jp’s, and with our little family of three. this year, taking stuff from both our pasts, i was really able to make it our own; jp and i worked together to create a powerdriver-feel to celebrating this high holiday that i’m excited to see continue and evolve in the coming easter sundays.
1. church: having vowed never to miss an easter sunday service after sleeping through it last year –or tending to a wee one, it’s all cloudy– we pulled ourselves out of bed and headed over to nearby church. ramona had on her easter finest and there were so many other families, young and old, gathering to worship and proclaim: christ is risen! he is risen indeed! though we do not have a church of our own that we attend regularly, it felt good to slide into those pews and crack open the hymn book and sing praises on high with the congregation.
2. family brunch: swedish pancakes. my mother has a recipe that she has been making since as long as i can remember. my memories of rolling these paper thin pancakes into tubes after pouring some maple syrup on them is brought back when i see my niece and nephew do it themselves around my parents’ breakfast table — each weekend, when my brother’s children stay w my parents, they get swedish pancakes. so i did my best to make these sweet, light, eggy pancakes in my own kitchen and this attempt was met w success! ramona gobbled down half and refused our offers of adding maple syrup or peanut butter to them. i took that as a compliment since this girl would bathe in those condiments if she could. jp, requiring savory w his sweet, invented his own way to eat the cakes: rolling up ham and cheese inside. and i ate mine simply, with a tad of syrup.
3. easter egg hunt: every year my mother does an egg hunt for the little ones present at her easter lunches. as we got older, this hunt turned quite competitive — so much so she had to give us our own color of egg so we’d leave each other alone. this year, our closest friends came over with their little ones and baskets to “hunt” for the eggs i had “hid” around the yard. with four children under two this just meant convincing them to pick up the brightly colored plastic eggs strewn visibly about the yard and put them in their basket. the twins and little max rocked the house and filled up their baskets. mo? after successfully placing two or three eggs in her basket, that girl just wanted to sit and eat the one stray piece of candy she found. (without wikipedia-ing it, i have no idea where the tradition of easter eggs and hunts came from but i love it).
4. community supper: the thirteen adults sat down to a long table on our back patio with five babes playing musical laps. jp and i roasted lamb and others brought delicious dishes (asparagus, beets, orzo salad, garlic cauliflower, falafel, rolls with honey and salted butter, oh my!) and tasty beers and wines. after a prayer of thanks we feasted.
5. egg boxing: a tradition that jp’s family introduced me to. you take hard boiled eggs and smash them into another that another person is holding. one will break and one will stay intact. you go around to everyone smashing your egg into theirs (or holding your egg while they smash theirs into yours) and the last one with an intact egg is the winner! each time i think i’ve found a maneuver to win, i lose — my egg smashed so badly and pathetically. while the adults were getting into this, the little ones stripped down to their skivvies and started running around the yard in a sugar-induced crazy. a perfect end to a great day.
jp and i are truly blessed with an amazing community of friends here in denver that i have never experienced before in my past. it was an honor to sit down and break bread w them to celebrate the freedom in life and love christ gave to us through his sacrifice.
and now i leave you with some photos taken by my dear friend, lashley rhodes:
Hello A Denver Home Companion Readers! My name is Rebecca I’d like to send a big thank you to Emily for having me here today. I’d also like to congratulate Emily and Jonathan on the opening of their new restaurant – very exciting – well done [...]
Hello A Denver Home Companion Readers! My name is Rebecca I’d like to send a big thank you to Emily for having me here today. I’d also like to congratulate Emily and Jonathan on the opening of their new restaurant – very exciting – well done guys!
This weekend marks the grand kick off to the holiday season and I’ve got gifts on the brain. My husband John and I call the first of December ‘Game On’ as in, let’s get the celebrating started. For the month of December we leave little treats around the house in unusual spots for each other. Picture me opening the refrigerator to find a new scented oil or opening the medicine cabinet to find a chocolate bar. In preparation for this tradition I put together a gift guide of things I am thinking of gifting John this year.
thanks, rebecca! i’m making sure jp reads this bc i’d sure love to find little treats hidden throughout the house
also, rebecca makes some beautiful jewelry that’s on MY christmas wish list.