I’m three days into this and already I’ve managed to flake out on a day! That’s okay, luckily for me I’m the only one in charge of making sure I stay on schedule, and I like to go easy on me.
Since I skimped out on writing for December 2nd, I decided to choose between December 2nd and 3rd for tonight’s post. Between the two, I very much liked December 3rd best, since the 2nd’s seemed a little too obvious for my current situation (the prompt was to explain what hinders you from writing daily, and I’d have to say that the fifteen pages of research papers I write a week contribute a little to that. Hi, English major!).
Today’s prompt: Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
My memory is witnessing my sister give birth to her first child, my nephew. Before you go running and screaming off into the distance, know that I am NOT going to go into the texture, smells, noises and colors of THAT experience. Trust me, it was enough nastiness just being in the room for that, I don’t need to explain to you the sensory overload of witnessing child labor in all of its gruesome glory. Yeah yeah, it’s beautiful and precious, but it’s also a teensy horrifying. The experience I remember is after the labor was over, after Charlie and my sister were cleaned up and after the intensity had died down from the former cheers and shouts of encouragement to a soft hum of joy and merriment, and I got to hold Charlie for the first time. I truly cannot remember where exactly I was when this happened - it could have been either in the hospital or back at my sister and brother-in-law’s house, it was such a blur - but the first time I held that tiny pink baby, oh man. He was so tiny, I kept stupidly asking, is he…human? I had never seen anything so small and human before, holding a human life that was a mere hours/days old was more defining of a moment than my twenty years of life could prepare me to understand. His feet had no callouses, his skin no mark of sunlight. He couldn’t speak, laugh, communicate, smile yet - was he human? In retrospect, I laugh at my childlike foolishness, of course he was human, what else could he possibly be. But holding him, feeling skin that has never been bruised, burnt, scraped, cut before and smelling that pink baby smell, there’s no smell like it in the world, holding seven pounds of muscle, bones, veins, consciousness, all of the components that equal a person. It was an experience that shattered all illusions I had of what life is, what it means to be a human with a life that is so precious that I couldn’t even begin to understand its preciousness until I held a brand new one in my arms. I held a beginning of a journey, the first page of an unfinished story. I had never known before that moment why people say that when they hold a baby they hold the world in their arms, but now it makes absolute sense. Seeing the beauty and life in the breaking dawn of my nephew’s life opened the windows and illuminated a sliver of the magniture of what being alive means for me. If you’ve held a brand new baby in your arms, then you know exactly of what I write, and if you have not, there is no possible way to descibe it. When it happens for you, it’s going to be big.