I am honored and thrilled to be a part of this new round of The Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries! Over the next six months, I will be chronicling my adventures in babywearing, along with 14 other mothers, as part of The Sling Diaries Volume II: Changing Seasons. Each month I'll be posting a diary entry, inspired by a different theme. The judges will choose their favorite photos to post on the Pinterest page, and at the end of the project winners will be chosen. I am truly excited to experience wearing Biet wrapped up close to me through the winter as she grows into a toddler. Excited, and curious as to how my body will adapt as another baby grows inside my belly. And if baby boy arrives on time he may even be able to be a part this beautiful diary!
Delight.With the crispness in the air come scarves wrapped tight, leaves blowing through the streets, and hot cups of coffee. We are in the heart of autumn in New York, the most delightful season of all. And while I love pulling my old leather boots out, warming up by the toasty radiator, and dressing my darling girl in her red wool peacoat, what I look forward to more than anything each year as the chill sets in is sitting down with a perfect mug of hot chocolate.
With my baby nestled in her sling, wrapped so close that I could kiss her, we ventured out to have our first hot chocolate of the season- Biet's first hot chocolate ever. Settled in the bottom of an old tenement building, just a couple of blocks from where Biet was born, is an immaculately inconspicuous french cafe where you can find one of the best hot chocolates in the city: The Pink Pony. Biet and I ordered our chocolat chaud at the dimly lit polished wooden bar and settled in to a seat. As we waited for the french chocolate to melt into the steamed milk, Biet began to gaze around, and wonder filled her eyes. Shelves and shelves of dusty old books, scratched mirrors, jewel-toned bottles, and curiosities of all types lined the walls, reaching up to the ancient tin ceiling. A covered piano hid in the corner, once loved and played nightly, but now merely a resting place for bouquets of fresh flowers and crooked candleabras. A jukebox played the songs of yesterday, and scrawled across the wall, weaving through the crooked portraits of countless downtown artists, was the this simple quote: "Hold me the forgotten way. -R.R."
Our little pot of french drinking chocolate arrived, and we settled into a window seat. I dipped the spoon in and let Biet taste it, anticipating her overwhelming delight as she experienced the perfect rich flavor of fall for the first time. Instead, she looked at me with a serious face, puckered her lips into a little kiss-face, and then reached for more. Yes she liked it, but not quite as much as her Mama. She rested into my body, smacking her lips, relaxing into the warmth and safety of my bosom, and I finished the hot chocolate. And as we sat there in silence and I gazed at that quote on the wall, I was taken back.
The hand which painted those words across the wall belonged not to a mysterious stranger named R.R., but to the accomplished poet Rene Ricard. I knew this for a fact, for I had spoken with him many times. At his readings I had maneuvered through piles of books and plumes of smoke, carrying coffee to him and his fellow artists. I learned quickly how to balance multiple mugs in my hands and move through the crowd. I also learned how to make the best hot chocolate (from imported french chocolate bars) during my five years working here at the Pink Pony. From my first day as an eighteen-year-old waitress, having only been in the city less than a week, this place began to change me. The people and the artists and the culture and the music, the wine and the smoke and the french baguettes (which I lived off of for a while), the amazing relationships and experiences that sprouted from this place- they helped make me who I am. It had been a long time since I had been back to this magical little spot, and as I sat there with Biet, I knew how very dear this place would always be to me.
And as Biet began to get sleepy and we got up to leave, I realized that this little outing "for Biet" had ended up meaning so very much to me. To sit with my daughter nuzzled close, with my son growing in my belly, and with my husband at my side, in this beautiful little place through which I first experienced my beloved New York City so many years ago, was an unimaginable delight.
And as I passed through the old wooden and glass doors on our way out I looked up and once again read "Hold me the forgotten the way." And this time, with my sleepy daughter resting her head on my shoulder, it meant more than ever.
*I am wearing the Simple Linen Baby Sling in Emerald.