Two months before Perry was born, I sat in the tiny church in Rushworth for my beloved grandmother’s funeral.  Sparrows flew back and forth high in the steepled ceilings inside the church. After I delivered a eulogy, one of them deposited a little gift from above.  It landed on my big tummy, right where Perry’s head was, in breech position, next to my heart, according to the 4D ultrasound that I had paid for a few days earlier.  Since such gifts are supposedly considered good luck, I gave it credit when, at my next prenatal appointment, the midwife said that my baby had turned and was now positioned head down (a ruse that he apparently pulled off for the next 2 months and five days, when he was discovered to be “undiagnosed breech”, in the same position when I got to the hospital after my waters broke.)

In those blurry months of new motherhood with a baby who would not sleep during the day unless it was in the sling or the pram, I walked kilometres each day, all over my new town.  I walked for as long as Perry slept.  The skies were cold winter blue, and, walking, as I wrote about in Blue, I began to find myself again.  I rediscovered writing, and meaning, and often, when I looked up at the sky, I saw an unravelling line of birds.  I thought that I must remember to write down that it looked like a ribbon of birds unfurling, but I saw the picture of it so often that I couldn’t possibly forget.  The recurring vision made me feel at home.

Now another winter approaches, Perry will turn 1 next month and it is a year this week since I finished working full time.  I have been feeling the tiniest bit lost lately with my primary role being motherhood, wondering how to regain a sense of meaning in my life.  It is a fruitless quest, because I don’t want to belittle the role of bringing up my beautiful son.  It has so far been a job unlike any other in my life before.  It has been a hundred times harder, and more full of the unknown that I could have ever imagined, but not a day goes by that I don’t spend at least some minutes gazing in awe at my little boy, with a love that has no limits.  I have not been the parent that I imagined myself to be.  I co sleep, I feed him to sleep, I have no idea when I will stop breast feeding.  I have thrown away the rule book since I realised that we needed to make up our own as we go along, because babies are not all the same.  Honestly, the job of discovering all of this, of getting through this 11 months, has been a deeply fulfilling and humbling one, and far more rewarding than any that I have ever done before.  It has also afforded me the opportunity to begin to write more, and to throw those words to the winds of audience and readers with this blog, instead of hoarding pages.  Some days these  words feel like a shield to assuage my invisibility   Yet still, I feel at a loose end, wondering where I am, where I will be, not wanting to be defined solely by my role of Perry’s mama, wondering if writing makes any difference at all.

With the winter gathering, more birds have arrived.  Returning from the shops each afternoon in the  early falling, gilded light of evening there is a new avian motif, the silvery shimmer and scatter of a flock, the deep flutter and turn of their amorphous arrow, turning and turning again above me as I walk down my street.  It is an endlessly enchanting spectacle and sound, bringing me home once more to myself, and then, amongst the branches of the grapefruit tree in our back yard, a pair of spotted doves warm their eggs in a nest, and I think, this is enough for now, to nurture and love and mother, and write.

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