Lucien's brand new eyes flutter open and gaze up, focusing on the face of the woman who cradles him to her bosom. Her golden strands of hair fall into wild tufts all around his smooth-skinned face, but he doesn't seem to mind. He peers up through the locks into her blue eyes, and he knows that he is home. Soon he will know her face well: each and every pore on her nose and fine wrinkle stemming from the corner of her eyes. Wrapped snugly to her chest over the coming months and years, he will become accustomed to her resonant laugh, strong gait, and rhythmic heartbeat. And over time he will memorize her slightly discolored and chipped front tooth, her oddly lopsided smile, and the way her eyes begin to droop when she is tired. Each of these things make her his mother. Each of these things make her beautiful.
Biet traces her finger down the line on her Papa's knee. Some may see a terrifying scar, a remnant of the past, a reminder of that life-changing day when the taxi barreled into him so many years ago. But to Biet, there is nothing but a pretty pink line, a part of her Papa- her beautiful Papa. Just as she knows every shiny little gray hair in his mustache, she will one day know each and every one of his stories. She will hear about how he taught himself to walk again after the accident. She will hear about how he walked with a cane on his very first dates with Mama. And she will hold so much pride and so much joy as he strongly bends down, picks her up, and throws her into a sling on his hip, using those very same legs to carry her all over our beautiful city.
We walk together across the uneven cobblestone streets, past the fallen trash cans, and around a man sleeping under an old blanket on the sidewalk. A rat runs out from a building's basement, almost crossing my foot. I firmly press my hands to my baby's ears as a police car speeds by with its siren blaring. As we approach the subway entrance, a loud drumbeat drifts up from the musicians playing down on the train platform below. A strong stench of stale urine and garbage accompanies it. A second later, the smell is replaced by the delightful aroma of fresh bread as we pass a new bakery that has opened. Biet dances in her Papa's arms to the fading drumbeat, then spots the swings across the street and begins to sing in excitement. As I stroll behind with Lucien, Gaby walks ahead with his eager daughter to go find an open swing. A giant dumpster parked on the street next to the park has been transformed by graffiti artists into an evolving work of art. I notice it has changed since we were last here. I listen to the orchestra of honking cars on the nearby avenue as I follow my family through the iron gate to the swing set, and I smile.
My goodness, is this world of ours beautiful.
As a woman, a mother, and an artist, nothing brings me more joy than to create beauty in the world around me. As I gaze upon these two human beings that Gaby and I have made: my son slumbering at my breast and my daughter squealing in delight as I swing her higher and higher, I realize that this time, I have been wildly successful.
This post is the sixth and final installment of the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries. You can see all previous entries here. I wear the Simple Linen Baby Sling in Organic Maple, and Gaby wears the Simple Linen Baby Sling in Emerald.
*Biet's neck cowl c/o the lovely Hannah of Flutter by Hannah
*A special thanks to photographer Michal Pauker