I embarked on this trek without intention.

Carefree and untethered, I skipped through the waves of the world. The beckoning of the ocean’s flow was unnoticed by me, focused as I was on the crowded beach, the laughter and heat, the treats and delights of the shore. I wandered further and further out, waving to your father as he mingled with newfound friends, ignoring the water as it crept up my torso, pulling me. Stepping unknowingly off the sandbar, I found myself overcome by the strong current of you pushing me into the open water. My untested arms were too untested to direct me backward, and so I coasted, browning in the hot rays, wandering far from all I had known, until it was just me and the thought of you. 

Lost in a cerulean oasis of my growing love, I floated. Day turned to night, twinkling stars appeared, and the ancient, unseen world came to life. I grew gills, and learned to breathe in the deep new world. My thick thighs merged into a powerful, beautiful tail, and I danced with the other mermaids as I swam, strong and confident, peaceful in the flowing. I learned their language, and abandoned my native tongue, speaking only now of you and this and we. My back stretched as my arms grew strong, and my belly rounded, expanding with life, submerged in adoration. For many months I voyaged in this uncharted expanse. I followed the natural rhythms of the water, drunk on blue champagne, absorbed in dreams. Occasionally, I pulled myself onto islands, catching my breath and examining my body as it grew heavy, but the ocean kept calling to me, as a siren. I slipped back into the murky depths, each stroke carrying me into the beyond. The mystical creatures of this indigo obscurity were my guides in migration from shore to shore, girl to mother, and carried me on their backs to the wild place of your birth.

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Mama-land.

This curious and extraordinary beach was pristine, unblemished. Empowered, aged, and illuminated by the crossing, I waded, reveled, danced in the sea-foam of motherly love. Upon exploration, I discovered your lush and glittering ways, and the bounty of our resting place. I sat at the shore of the ocean which shipped me to this coast, and pledged my eternal gratitude. I unearthed small bottles, filling them with honey-sweet prayers to the goddesses treading water in the distance, receiving their supreme, echoed blessings back.  

Worry rolls in waves, undulating across the mind and eroding the soul. It digs, boring holes in the veneer and pushing into cracks. Some caves of worry are porous, blue depths, clouded from the surface of existence, crowded with their kelp-like tangle. Some worry, smooth and vibrant in its appearance, is glimmering just beneath the surface, evident in every ripple, but unidentified. 

And so it was, on a grey morning, with all my blessing bottles gone to sea, that mighty worry rushed upon the edges of our world. Slowly, my smooth, mystical body took on its human form once more, and I wobbled on my forgotten legs. I longed for the whisper of waves, and a weightless existence. On land, day and night seemed fixed, and the once-fluid horizon line firm. We had strayed far from home, finding ourselves stranded on our island where no ships passed, where no man wandered. Earthly worry, long abandoned at sea, washed like driftwood onto our banks, sticking up in the milk-white sand, obscuring my steady view. These water-logged boards, saturated with my fears, polluted our sanctuary. I laid the planks flat, examining their shape and color and form. Each a shard of its own ship. Each a singular, far-away wreckage, back to haunt. The fiery remains of imploded love, black and splintered, burnt as the vessel that carried its contents. The barnacle-covered, slippery leftovers of self-doubt and limited confidence, slick with its clawing, nagging anxiety. The jagged fragments of discarded dreams, sharp with its piercing longing. I ached for my seaworthy figure; the supple, young being I was had been replaced with a wide, sturdy shape. I desired love from a creature who spoke my language. I craved certainty and companionship. I thirsted for I sat among the waste, appraising the damage, as sunlight baked the pieces. The dark, wet wood faded, greying, becoming brittle. Gently, I stepped upon debris, testing the weight. I felt them shatter beneath the weight of our bound bodies. As if a game, I broke the sea-drift apart, and each night while you sleep, as the waves surge and the cool air of tomorrow shrouds our camp, I light the scraps one by one, warming your small body, and absolving myself in the smoke. 

I was shaken to find the absolute truth of motherhood: There is no rescue, and we must join our lives to the tumbling tides of time. For it is just us two here. Two souls, battle-weary sea creatures, at once lost and found in our transcendent union. We are solitary, but not deserted. At the dawn of this odyssey, I merely stayed afloat, content to ride the waves. Now, I know this passage was foretold; I was called to find new lands. We mothers find shade, seek nourishment, soothe wounds, scare off beasts, wish upon stars, and tell the stories. My legs no longer tremble when I walk the sands of motherhood, and my feet have grown accustomed to the hot sand. Tearing bark from trees, I have strapped you to me, and I carry you about me as I discover our home. On this island, I have learned to make friends with the birds and the palm leaves. I have grown accustomed to the rumblings of volcanoes, and I do not fear the pitch-black mysteries of night. I made a bed from cotton I found growing in the far end of a green field, and I fish each morning with a spear I fashioned with my teeth. I have no tools, no map, no compass. I have only the sapphire star field, the warmth of our bodies, and the knowledge of the shifting blue. I bathe in its glassy silver, and crash back against its waves. I welcome the shipwrecked worries that daily land at our feet. I band them together, forming new shapes, new shelter. I have swum deep and far; you may find peace in my starlit eyes. I am a vessel of limitless transformation. The sea was my source, and I am your origin. 

 

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