We went to the emergency room two Saturdays ago. Kip broke his radius falling from his dad’s back while wrestling. He now tells everyone: “I fehwll off Daddy’s back in the hotehwl and bwoke my wist and I have to wear dis bwace. It hurt a wot, but I’m feeling pwetty good now.” He never cries like he did just after it happened, holding his arm limp in his other arm. He gets knocked around a lot by his big brother, and cries. But never like that. We knew immediately and left for the ER, where Kip decisively pointed to his pain level on the chart three times in two hours and, when we left, he was a smiley face. Hours later, he jumped from bed to bed in his grandparents’ hotel room, so excited to see them. Ever intrepid, three-year-old boys.
We were visiting for my niece’s baptism, a long-awaited family reunion in a city none of us call home, and seeing her after so many weeks was joy beyond joy. I haven’t written about my sister’s wondrously wonderful little baby girl yet because there are no words for how I feel about her presence in the world. Every time I try to write about her, everything sounds ridiculous; nothing lives up to how grandly I feel about her, how magnificent she truly is. I write, and I start getting teary-eyed, unable to articulate my feelings for this delightful package of peace, wisdom, sincerity, snuggliness, feminine power and ever-new joy.
It so happens that, in that weekend of broken wrists and giddy bed jumping, I became my niece’s godmother. My sister and bro-in-law even gave me a t-shirt that says “bibbidi bobbidi boo.” And I wear it. I wear it to yoga. I wear it in the house. I wear it just to look in the mirror and say to my reflection: “You have arrived, dear one. You are a godmother. Woot woot.” Little-known fact: Godmother is one of my select few dream jobs. It is an immense honor to be officially tapped to love my niece as God loves her—unconditionally; without fear, judgment or expectations; and with great joy. I have the sanctioned opportunity to support my goddaughter in her own journey no matter its twists and turns. And I have the chance to make sure she knows she is loved and supported by God and the Universe. I ineloquently wrote her a letter for the day of her baptism and, in it, I shared my first bit of godmotherly wisdom: God is love, love is God, you are love and you are loved.
I wonder if my sons know this. I wonder if my friends know this. I wonder if, at all moments of the day, I know this.
In any event, we got a chance to show Kip how much he was loved that weekend, too. A broken bone broke the pattern of Charlie: loud, Kip: quiet, at least for a day. And the poignant conversations between him and Brian, of apology, forgiveness and adoration, were some of the sweetest I’ve ever overheard. The snuggles, the love, the close quarters, the eye contact of the weekend were all such a gift. And so was the tricked-out dessert platter the hotel sent to our room with condolences for the broken wrist.
It’s hard to pinpoint the strange magic of that weekend, when Kip broke his wrist and I became godmother to a phenomenal baby girl, but magical it was.
Lastly, a sidebar shout out to the art of occasional poetry:
Because words fail me when it comes to writing about my niece, and because I think art is one of God’s highest forms of expression on earth, and because love like this makes you need poetry, I commissioned the poet, cin salach, to write a poem for my beautiful goddaughter on the occasion of her baptism. In the end, cin’s poem made me cry giant tears of appreciation for all that my sister’s daughter is. Cin captured my feelings and wishes for her beautifully, and she left my goddaughter with her very first piece of original art, for which, at age three months, she herself was the muse. It felt like the perfect way to honor my dear, impeccable goddaughter in her first of many rites of passage.
If you have a special someone you’d like to immortalize in poetry, may I suggest you visit http://www.poemgrown.com/?
Aside: cin is the dearest of friends, so I know the beauty of her heart and the soulfulness of her process, but I also must vouch for the fact that she is an artist of inspirational proportions. If you need more than my word to vouch for her, she’s won a bunch of awards, has book deals, is largely responsible for popularizing slam poetry, is an Emmy nominee and she gets recognized by fans every time I’m out with her—people literally stop her in the street to talk about her poetry. I’ve never seen anything like it. So if you want to give someone a beautiful gift, if you’re an art collector or want to be, cin’s poetry is the real deal. Check her out!