You were born in just spring, when the air was liquid with orange blossoms.
It had been warm for weeks but your arrival felt like new, and so you will always make me think of spring, my young man.
Your mother, my dearest friend, cupped the fragile bird egg of your skull, wreathed with whorls of amber. She counted your toes. She measured the length of your eyelashes. We do this, we mothers.
You were a mirror image of your sister, your pouting mouth a grimace against the cold, the loss of the breast. Even the squint of your eyes, twinned to her, like the sea after a storm, like rain.
Your face, so small and fresh, was composed. I could see that your mother saw a symphony on your countenance.
It had been warm for weeks when you made her, my friend, my sister, when you made her a mother twice over. When she cradled your long thin bones, when she tallied your eyelashes and the flutter of your breath and you curled against her like a flower.
We number these things, we mothers, these tiny details in the first moments of knowing you outside of our bodies. They join the lists we made as we grew you, the countless things we treasured up in our hearts from the moment we knew you.
We hoard these treasures against the hard days, the weak days. We know that there will be days when the weight and noise of the music of your life will overpower us, we mothers. Will drown out who we are, what we have done, what we are doing. There will be days when we lose a step, when we will not be at our best. We memorize the song of your life against the discordant clang of the world.
I write to tell you, my sweet new small one, that we mothers are not always perfect. That we will fail you. But our love is fierce and forgiving. Our pride in you is endless and deep. I write to tell you that we are not composers…not usually.
But as I watched your mother looking into your face on that warm afternoon in March, watched her drink in the heady scent of orange blossoms, watched her marvel at the power of her body. As I watched her trace your face with her tired hands, I knew:
You are the finest symphony she’s ever written.