Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ode to a Rose

I have a sister and her name is Lily Rose, and she is pregnant.
When Mama was pregnant with this sister I was seven. I had an older brother but until then I had been the baby. I don't remember if I was reluctant to relinquish that position, I only remember being excited. I told my friends at school that I was going to be a big sister soon, and that she would be born at home, and that I would get to see. 
I'd seen pregnant ladies before, but none so close up and personal as this. I watched my Mama's belly grow to outrageous proportions and I accepted it as the norm. My Mama was my first baby maker teacher and she was a very good one. It did not seem easy to carry this baby. Mama sweated through the hot Florida summer with that belly poking out. She washed herself in cold Wakulla waters, she ate chili dogs, she wrapped herself in magnificent zebra print maternity, and sometimes a scarf flecked with rose and gold tight around her middle, and no it did not seem easy but she made it glamorous.
When my sister came we were allowed to stay home from school. As my Mama labored, walking around the house and deck wearing only amethyst beads and  my stepfather's tie-dyed t-shirt, her friends came outside and told us not to be afraid. 
My brother and I were not afraid! We had been told all about this! We had been told by our very own Mama! We were busy playing! All day we made everyone wreaths of morning glory to wear in their hair to welcome the baby, and we played our secret made-up games where my brother was the king and I was everyone else.
That is how Lily came into the world, with friends and family all around. I remember there were so many flowers and so many of them were lilies and roses. 
Lily was my first baby teacher. I learned how to squish her rubbery little arms into tiny cotton shirts, I learned how to change a cloth diaper and wipe a wee butt. I learned how to walk and walk with her baby bean body until my skinny arms were cheese and I had to pass her off to someone else.
Sometimes I was not the best big sister. She was a force from the moment she was born, a howling tempest with feet that stamped the air and fists raised high in grand protest. I lost my temper. I lost my patience. My mother lost her sleep and her mind. I got off easy.
Here's the deal- we always talk about how difficult she was but what we forget to say is that she did not frighten us off. When Mama got pregnant again three years later I never once thought Oh God here we go again.... I was just as excited for another. As feisty as she was, I loved her furiously. I used to make nests for her on the floor out of blankets and toys all around so that wherever she looked there was something fun. She had a stuffed caterpillar that she called a callipiller and so I called her Lilipiller, and I still do.
Now she is all grown up and the girl who was my first baby teacher is now my second baby maker teacher.
I haven't written about her pregnancy because my Mama has done such a good job at that over at Bless Our Hearts, but I was looking at her today and she looked tired and a little worn and oh so beautiful. I have never seen such a beautiful woman in my life.
She glows, she really does. I watch her belly grow and it is not so much a swelling as it is a blossoming. She was lovely before but now she is opening, like, yes, a rose. When I'm around her I want to touch her, I want to press my face to her skin, rub her under my chin like a buttercup. I want to smell her. She smells like baby.
 I never would have guessed that this girl, this baby, would have a baby before me but I am lucky for it. If and when I am so blessed I only hope that I will have one half the grace she does now.
My luv is like a red red rose. She walks in beauty like the night. I have no words, no words to speak of her or of how I love her. I have a sister. Her name is Lily Rose and she is pregnant.


Ms. Moon said...

Oh my. I had forgotten that scarf but I had not forgotten that fierce baby. And I never knew exactly what it was like to be you, waiting on Lily.
May, you are an amazing writer and an amazing sister and an amazing daughter.
You blow me away with your words, your spirit, your humor, your heart.
Lily is so lucky to have you in her life as she so gracefully unfolds to motherhood.
We are all so lucky to have you in our lives.
Thank-you for writing about it.

May said...

You were so beautiful in that scarf. Remember how I liked to wear it too? Back then they didn't make sexy form fitting maternity dresses so you wore that white dress and wrapped the scarf around your belly and showed it off to the whole world.
Thank you for your sweet words, Mama. I did forget to mention Jason and say that we are lucky to have him too.
That movie, Away We Go, was really good. I highly recommend it. Did the girls tell you?

CMe said...

wow this was so beautifully written; i can see, smell, and feel everything and it is very beautiful.

May said...

Thanks CMe! And I'm glad to hear your dad is doing better and going home.

Ms. Moon said...

The girls said it was good. I didn't know you went too! And there I was, doing data entry. Bah.
I forgot to tell you that I love your new picture, you beautiful girl, you.

Steph said...

You guys have one hellova cool family. This is beautiful, as are you and Lily both.

Lily said...

Aww May, you made me cry. I love you so much. I do not always feel pretty these days and it is wonderful to hear it from someone as gorgeous as you! Sorry I did not let you go first so you could be my teacher, but you know I have always wanted everything right away. Thanks again and so much love.

May said...

Thank you Steph! I think everyone thinks their family is the best. Mine is pretty rockin'.
Lily- Thank YOU! Oh baby, you couldn't have waited for me to be first! I certainly had my chance. I'm just so glad you're having this little boy! Have you thought of more names? And YOU are GORGEOUS!

honeyluna said...

I agree with you May, Lily is gorgeous and I too just want to touch her glowing skin and squish her with my love.

You write so beautifully, because you are so beautiful, and I'm not just talking your sweetheart lips and long, wavy locks, I'm talking about that spirit and soul of yours. I feel so blessed, so so freaking blessed to have you as my sister.

I had fun at the movie yesterday. The love in the movie reminded me of our family's love (and so did that house).

Sarcastic Bastard said...

What a lovely tribute to your sister! I am a big fan of your Mama's and found your link on her blog.

Hank was king, huh? That made me laugh.

Your family is so blessed.

Love to you,


Mwa said...

The most beautiful post.

I love your family yet I have never met any of you.

May said...

SB-Hank is always King! Thanks for stopping by.
Mwa- Thank you! I just went over to your blog and tried to comment but I'm having problems using that kind of comment page, probably because I am so inept. Anyway, I wanted to say that your new raincoat is lovely and that you are hilarious. I'll keep reading!

gingermagnolia said...

Oooh, girl. You brought a lump to my throat.

My baby sister just had a baby, and I am so happy that I was around for every bit of her pregnancy and birth. I think she is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, but as she slept while her body was laboring away...that was the most beautiful I've ever seen her.

So lucky we are as older sisters. I called my baby sister Bizzie Butt (her name is Elizabeth)and still do. I couldn't imagine loving anyone the way I love her.

Best wishes for your sister, and her coming boy.

Lady Lemon said...

This is so sweet. You and your family cleary have an amazing bond.

I love the scarf idea. Must remember it when I am preggers (one day).

May said...

gingermagnolia- Bizzie Butt is so cute! Congratulations to her and to you! Are you the wacky Aunt?

Lady Lemon-We are like Gorilla Glue, we have a great bond but if we're not careful we'll get all over everything.
Yeah, the scarf thing was a great idea. My Mama- she's so smart! And stylish.

Petit fleur said...

May May May,

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Ms May, if you decide to be a mom, you will blind us all with your beams of light~ and I think, the more teachers, the better.

Lilly-- You are radiant! ...I also know what you mean about not feeling attractive when you get to the stage that you are.. and in summer. ouch. I remember well. I remember thinking, "nobody this uncomfortable can possibly be pretty." BUT... as Billy Crystal used to say: "It does not matter how you feel, only how you look... and YOU ... LOOK... MAAAAAAAVELOUS DAHLING!"

Actually, you may not know that one, it is an old SNL thing really caught on back in the 80s. Pat the baby for me.
xo pf

gingermagnolia said...

I'm not the wacky one, our older sister is. I am, of course, the "practically perfect in every way" aunt. :)

Kori said...

I so wish I had been born into this family of yours. From Ms.Moon for a mama to the bond you have with your siblings, it just makes my heart hurt from loving all of you and not having that. What an amazing post!