When I was sixteen and pregnant they said I was high risk. My age, I guess. And then there was the fact that I didn’t put on as much weight as they would have liked. It led to frequent ultrasounds and appointments during which they’d hook monitors up to my belly and inspect the printout that read like a seismogram. The risk was in losing something–someone–I hadn’t yet known. High risk, they said. I had no idea.
She came along one day on the tail end of a dragging summer. She came along in the usual way–but in the wake of her all of the moments that passed were anything but usual.
An angled corridor of a little hospital on Las Tablas Road in Templeton, California leads to a delivery room like any other. The names and the faces that pass have surely changed but it is there that a puzzle piece of time remembers the day we two were born–she into the world and me into a whole new one.
Before: all of it was mine. Dreams and hopes and joy and pain. Laughter and tears. Success and failure. Triumph and injustice. Every bit of it was mine. Just me with skin in the game. The stakes, they were limited.
After: my milk had yet to come in when I stared into her wide eyes and fell to pieces. Within the flail of those tiny fists she clutched the whole of me. Everything I had to give was hers for the taking. She was barely more than a whisper in my arms but quite suddenly and inexplicably I realized just how high risk it all was.
The risk. It comes in so fiercely loving–in so willingly and so wholly pouring into the most fragile of beings, the most tender of little lives.
She came home again and I watched in awe as the Master-planned circle of life spun on. With my hands gently placed I felt undeniable proof that indeed, life keeps on coming. And yes, there is risk in the living. In the loving.
Oh. But how sweet the reward.