It was dark early, light late. I spent hours on a couch cushion in a weird sleepless haze. It felt, in those early months, that I was looking at the world through a milky film. The daylight, as short as it was, shocked me into stillness. Best to see it all from our third story window. A static glare into our neighbors empty backyards. It was cold. And there were two many layers to sort through, too many things to forget, so the diaper bag sat hunched at the closet door.
This is how it felt being a new mother to a winter baby. Like a sleeping crocus waiting to push through.
In early spring, I scrolled with a finger on my phone through the posts of a local parenting list-serve. Amidst the ‘for-sale’ and the ‘in-search-of’ baby gear, I found a post about a few new mothers taking a walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park.
I showed up in sunglasses, in a thick black jacket, in bangs that fell so long I had to continuously sweep them aside. My hands were plastered to the handle of the Citi Mini stroller, where they would stay for the foreseeable future, feeling every bump of Brooklyn sidewalk as I walked.
Our leader seemed fearless, friendly, with a bold, red stroller, her hair in a high ponytail, a headband at her ears. She and I would later sit at the coffee shop, Henry’s Local, with two infants at our chests, her with coffee, me with tea, her making me laugh while she sneered at a too-serious patron reading Voltaire.
But that day, she would lead us into the park and back out again. Trees barely planted, the river quiet, the soccer fields empty. Mothers marching with our infants across all the newly paved paths.
I felt that day as if I had survived something, a storm I hadn’t been fit to weather. A stroke of luck, of fate, to be able to take a walk to the Brooklyn Bridge and back.