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The past week is kind of a blur to me as I spent several days in Milwaukee welcoming the newest member of our family, my niece – Margot. With her black hair, soft sweet skin, and ability to make her voice heard, she’s a lovely melding of my strong, intelligent, beautiful sister Lauren and her sincere, always real, responsible, darkly handsome husband Beau. A gentle, yet strong girl, she will be the perfect yang to her always-in-motion, 4-year-old brother’s yin. She tested her mother’s patience in labor then in the end seemed to arrive ever so quickly.

With tears in my eyes, I witnessed Beau’s admiration for his wife’s calm power and felt joy emanate from Lauren as she met baby Margot for the first time. This creature she had so intimately cared for every moment of the last 40 weeks now in her arms intently gazing at her while searching for a nipple. The sun shining through the window seemed to sparkle just a little more brightly just then. Margot had arrived. She will rock her older brother’s world in many ways in the years to come while enriching it in so many ways. Starting with choosing his birthday to be hers also!

What a privilege for me to be present for her arrival and to watch them make room for her in their hearts as well as their home. I treasure hearing Henrich proclaim, “Mom, baby Margot is the cutest ever!” as he climbed the stairs to bed her first night home.

It naturally reminded me of the births of my children, each with its unique story I never tire of telling. Those big moments, life-changing and charged with energy, carry a lot of power. I know they have shaped me and our family - ultimately how we move through this life. On the long drive home to Blue River, it felt satisfying to get them out of my memory and sit with them again. I was free-floating on a cloud of love and happiness from watching my sister’s family settle into new routines and remembering doing the same not so long ago.

I was welcomed home with hugs and kisses from Bill and the kids. I felt missed and loved – what more could I wish for. Bill had even washed the dishes so the kitchen wasn’t the disaster I expected! I changed into my cutoff blue jean shorts and t-shirt to head out to the fields and get dirty. I felt my free-floating self become grounded again as I pulled weeds, picked beans, and tasted my first sun-ripened cherry tomato of the season.

Farming just keeps it real for me. Just when thoughts in my head get too big, I come upon a group of squash bugs that need to be squished before they scurry away. I do it, uttering a satisfied “Ewww!” as I rub off the resulting mess on my fingers. I sit back while yanking out quack grass because my legs scream from squatting and land squarely on a prickly thistle. As I scramble up away from it, I am reminded again to pay attention to the here and now. The little moments are important, too. Life is happening all around me, all the time. I am lucky to be immersed in it and don’t want to miss any of it. I want to build more precious memories and feel more prickly thistles. Memories and stories carry me through darker times, and remind me how very lucky we are to know each other and live the life we have.

So welcome, Margot, to our family, and to this complicated journey of life. I have all the faith in the world you will bring great joy to many as you join us in trying to figure it all out.

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