Last night I curled up with my beloved girl at bedtime, on her 11th birthday eve, stroking her long, auburn hair, massaging her sweet golden shoulders. I snuggled in to tell her, lingeringly, in annual ritual fashion, the glorious and epic story of her body’s birth into our world.

Every time I tell it, it comes through a bit differently.

This time it wanted to be the story of the most powerful wish I had ever known, granted! A beautiful, healthy daughter of my heart, manifested into form! How long I had waited to be reunited with her in this world, and how obliterated I felt by this tsunami of love for her; this annihilating devotion that took me down at once so completely; humbling and grounding me to this planet like nothing ever had before.

And as I lay with her, speaking softly into her budding-woman ears, it also wanted to be the story of the extraordinary rite of passage it had been for both of us; the most difficult and most rewarding, as we worked and worked through 46 hours of excruciating back labor, through searing pain and unfathomable angst. I spoke of the doubt I had to face, the fear that I couldn’t do it… that I didn’t have what it takes, to bring her through me; the terrifying sense that my body couldn’t survive that kind of pain. And the dark exhaustion and hopelessness passing between us, Mother and Daughter, as we faced together what we had to face.

And how together, along the way, as I stretched and pushed and she worked so hard to find her way out from the safe haven of my womb, we somehow found the strength and the courage; the faith and holy surrender to keep on opening wider, together, towards LIFE~ wailing, toning, singing, yelling our way across that threshold, from the Heavens down to Earth, in our little rustic cabin in western Santa Rosa, with the chickens pecking the new Spring earth outside in the sun while I wailed; the Calla Lilies blooming.

Arayla said quietly in the dark: “And then my head crowned, and I was coming through you…?” I sighed deeply, with joy, exclaiming softly: “Yes! And then you came, out, through me, and the women lifted you out onto me~ and you were so big and pink and long and strong and pissed off about how hard it had been!” She laughed with relief: “Just like that? They didn’t wash me first?” And I said: “Oh no~ just like that. Perfect as you were, all covered with birth fluids, right onto my belly, and up to my breast….so Papa and I could look into your eyes and welcome you! And we all cried together, with such love and luck and joy and gratitude.”

She was quiet then, laying in my arms in her big, cozy bed, with the softest turquoise sheets, under framed images of wild, unharnessed horses, with unkempt auburn manes, just like hers, blowing in the wind. Suddenly in my arms she felt so small and young and new. I leaned in and inhaled her hair, squeezing her close, whispering: “I wanted to be your Mama more than I had ever wanted anything. But you know what? I had no idea how amazing and wise and gorgeous and brilliant a being you would be!” She giggled, turning herself around in my arms to face me, exclaiming: “How could you have ever known how fabulous I would be?” I shook my head in astounded agreement: “I couldn’t! I still can’t! You amaze and surprise me all the time, my Love.”

And here we are, crossing another threshold~ me opening wider into the new world of mothering a young woman, and her stretching to be born into the newness of her changing body, heart and mind! And together, once again, we are finding the courage and the strength, the trust, surrender and spiritual stamina to guide us through this transitional time, into these new breaths of life and love; these brand new ways of cherishing, holding and releasing, losing and grieving, listening and celebrating, returning and reclaiming.

Thank you Arayla Grace, my eternal beloved. Thank you for your birth, your breath, your giggles, your prayers and your tears. Thank you for your audacious sass and crackling wry humor, your radiant heart of old-soul-seeing, your fearlessly insightful mirror and startling eloquence; thank you for your kindness, your care, your truth, your grace.

Thank you for your precious life, Daughter, and this great honor of loving you and knowing you and knowing your love.

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