The New Year

{My granddaughter Faryn}

{My granddaughter Faryn}

{My granddaughter Faryn, born January 4, 2012}

Whirlwind doesn't even begin to describe things around here ever since, oh, Thanksgiving. And at the end of all the holidays, the birthdays, the book launch, and everything in between, there was Faryn, who just joined our world a little over 24 hours ago. Because I am headed back to the hospital soon to visit her and am short on time, I'll share a snippet of a recent email to a friend, which captures much of this past week, which has been a roller coaster of emotion, love, and beautiful madness.

It was an amazing day. I have witnessed two births before, but this was in a league of its own, and such an incredible opportunity to play a very specific role that really could have been my only possible role. I literally did not say a word the entire time I was in there, and I was pretty well planted right behind T so I could get good footage of the birth from overhead without having to do full on va-jay-jay shots. Her mom was there as one of her coaches, her best friend was there for the same reason, she had a doulah, the nurse, the doctor, her husband, and his mom was sort of hovering in the background coaching and praying. So T needed no other voices, and I would have felt like I was infringing on her mom's territory if I started to get involved in any sort of coaching capacity. I wanted to be respectful of their bond and these moments.

So I was silent, and totally focused on my work as the photographer and videographer. In the background, capturing it all, taking it all in, and also, as much as I could, keeping it together emotionally. (Big tears = shaky camera!) It was an extraordinary place to be, and I LOVED just being there as an energetic support more than a vocal support. And I got such amazing photographs and videos…the light was kind to me.

Everyone was convinced this was going to be a boy (they didn't find out the gender), and after the baby came out, it was placed on T's stomach. It took her husband a solid 10 seconds or so to remember to turn the baby over and announce the gender (we decided ahead of time he would be the one to make this announcement), and when he exclaimed, "Oh my god it's a GIRL!" we all lost it. Unreal…and just about the best f***ing surprise I've ever had in my life.

~

I rang in the new year getting violently ill. T, and then C, and then me! all got some kind of monstrous 24-hour stomach bug. When I woke up around 1:00am feeling insanely nauseous, I was laying there thinking about how much I wanted to avoid throwing up, as it has been years since I have. It wasn't to be avoided, naturally, and there you have it. I was on the couch all day New Year's day, but then on January 2nd I woke up determined to go the Rose Bowl, so like a crazy woman I went. I was literally grateful to be alive (I'll spare you the gory details of my life flashing before my eyes), so said to hell with it, and off we went to cheer on the Badgers, who lost, but it was a great game.

Of course I have to think of this as a very literal metaphor for clearing things out as the new year rolled in, but I also can't help wonder why that clearing out had to be so brutal. And I'm also thinking a great deal about the fact that I got sick four times in 2011, which for me is totally batty. Before that I bragged that I hadn't been sick in years. Years! So I can say 2011 was an extraordinary experience of living in possibility, but I also need to take a look at why all that extraordinary-ness wreaked havoc on my body.

~

And your words about the book…geez…can I get them tattooed on my forehead? I want to read them everyday. I think people really are getting it, and that might not mean it will sell a lot, but the ones who are buying it and writing about it really getting it. And that is the most extraordinary gift I could ever ask for. 

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. I'll be getting back in the groove of things next week, with much to share.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide