February 28, 2014

Six Months Ago

08.26.2013

Ten years ago, when I was in graduate school for architecture, one of my classmates and his wife had a baby. Throughout the pregnancy, she would stop by studio while we worked late into the night. We all swooned over her growing belly and I wondered how he could concentrate on cutting cardboard at 2AM with fatherhood looming. When the baby did arrive, it was the start of the spring semester. The new family made a first visit to school only a few weeks after the delivery. It had been some time since I'd been so close to a newborn, and I remember the shock of how tiny he was: aimless searching eyes, hands batting into space. He was more of a creature than a baby, awe inspiring but also slightly frightening. 

That same semester was my first true creative dry spell, a rare struggle for me as a student. Frustration drove me to work from home more often than in the communal studio, hiding from my failures, withdrawing from my friends, and procrastinating with crap television. After months of false starts and abandoned ideas, I found myself back in the studio space, scrambling to pull a project out of thin air. I had decided to invest all my efforts into a model built entirely out of plexiglass, probably hoping that if my work was transparent, it and I could both be invisible. 

The night before the final review, my friend brought his now six month old baby around for a visit. In the midst of my own narcissistic narrative and tearfully assembling a pile of sanded plastic, I was confounded by this chubby smiling boy. Rolls of chins and arms and thighs, sitting on his own, locking with my gaze and grabbing for tubes of drawings... seriously?! How was this the same child that could barely blink a few months ago? How had he accomplished becoming an entire person in the short time that I had burned binging on old seasons of Dawson's Creak? Humbling and humiliating.

I keep saying it and writing it, but can't ever really digest how fast life is going. I've come to realize that there's no option for losing track of time when your work is balancing a baby on one hip, and I find comfort in that. Of course she deserves all the credit for pulling off the simple miracle of growth, but I'm proud of my assisting role. A half a year will never feel the same once you start measuring the months against a developing child. 

5 comments:

  1. Amazing how much she has changed, Lilly. I often felt this same sense of awe during the first year of my boys' lives. It is remarkable how fast they grow, how fragmented it all seems looking back with all the lack of sleep and foggy moments interspersed with clarity and wonder. It is such an amazing and fleeting moment in time. I really enjoyed your words today. ;)

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    1. Thanks Lauren, it's so wild isn't it? I know this is all going to be a hazy sleep deprived blur and she'll be a toddler before I can really process it all. Fleeting is for sure.

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  2. Such expressive beings!! I often feel the greatness of life when I watch my plants grow, but they aren't nearly as intoxicating or photogenic as your little peanut.

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    1. I do often think about gardening as I'm watching her grow Marian (and the dark days of winter may make those garden fantasies all the more appealing!). It's an extraordinary / ordinary feat that growth. Thanks so much.

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  3. Lovely story. I miss being on maternity leave because it's truly a time where you're not required to accomplish any great goal except nurturing your child. Now I'm back to feeling I must "achieve" all the time.

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