Cave

caveI surface. I blink in the watery, clear light of autumn. I cradle a small warm bundle of life in my arms and hear him cry for attention, love, and food.

The reason for my long absence from this blog was the birth of my son, George Liam Stephens. He arrived early on August 1st, and my life has turned head over heels: In love. In responsibilities. In priorities. Welcome to the world, little life!

Then, on November 5th (thanks to the film V for Vendetta, I’ll note it with “Remember, remember the Fifth of November”) I was able to take up writing for the forty-five minutes. It was like my first breath of fresh air after months in an underground cave.

The cave in which I lived was filled with little sleep.  Tiny peals of human cries, echoed off the walls as my baby called for me. As a new mom, I’ve honestly figured out so very little, but three months after my baby has come out of me and into this world, I’m starting to form a handhold, albeit a slippery and fragile one, for what it looks like to go on living.

My son is incredible. I’ve watched him try to sing, witnessed him kick his heels in his bath water, sat with him while he wrapped a tiny fist around my finger. I will never be the same.

I will be a mother to my son.

And I will write again.

It may be as painstaking as re-learning how to walk. I’ll have to crawl before I walk. But as my son take his first developing steps, I’ll take my first steps into the illuminated world of storytelling, word by word.

George snuggles against me and breathes with his nose burrowed against my chest.

I stand outside the cave and breathe.

This little one is joining me on the rest of the journey:

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About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Cave — 19 Comments

    • Thank you so much, Julie! There is so much beauty where I’m standing right now. I can’t begin to imagine what life will look like from hereon out, but I am hopeful and encouraged. 🙂

    • Thank you, Arleen. I will keep this in mind. My heart aches for writing, and it’s good to get a little of it back, but I don’t want to miss this very precious and very short window of time with my baby, either.

  1. Thank you, thank you Elise. That was truly a beautiful thing to wake up to this morning. You don’t know me, but I’m Liz Barber’s daughter.
    Well done you for braving the cold and the light on the outside of your cave and for doing it fast. I think that if you wait too long, sometimes it’s hard to find your way out. My eldest is nearly 14 and I can’t even write a grocery list! Of course, I never could write a grocery list…
    Your son will thank you for every word you write, even if it takes you away from him for a few moments. And you will be a happier, better mother. You have inspired me.

    • Thank you, Alissa! Nice to meet you! Exactly! I hope that through allowing myself to write, I can be a better mother because I will be happier and more fulfilled and able to turn around and pour that joy and satisfaction back into the time with my son. I’m so glad you understand and that this has inspired you.

  2. My heart soars back through the years to join you on that threshold. I remember being so moved by those first few months — confounded, when it came to writing about them. Now my first baby is off at college, and the younger one in high school. Maybe in my second book, I’ll finally be able to write about new motherhood! For me, it’s taken a lot of years to filter from the overwhelming tacit experience into something I might just be able to put into words! But journaling is key! Best wishes on your journey from the cave.

    • Thank you, Virginia! Yes, I know I’m starting a whole new treasure chest of things to write about–motherhood! Not sure how it will filter into the writing, but everyone keeps reminding me how invaluable it is. 🙂

  3. Hooray! Welcome to the sunlight! 🙂 I am so happy. You are going to work out your new life amazingly, I know it. You are strong, intentional, and disciplined: you will make a way to be all your self, and all Georgie’s mama. It might be slow, but all your good habits before will pay off for you know. I love you. I’m so proud of you. Keep stealing the moments when you can… Agreed with everything Alissa said. XO, Cousin.

  4. So very cute! Congratulations, mom. Well done! 🙂
    Wishing you the very best as you navigate this new chapter in your life. My boys are 15 and 19, and I’d love to tell you that I got a lot of writing done after the second one was born, but you probably have figured out that it wasn’t the case. Good luck sorting that out. I’m sure you’ll figure it out…together. 🙂

    -Jimmy

    • Thanks, Jimmy! I don’t know how parents do it, I really don’t, but my ability to get more efficient with the time I have is driven by necessity! It’s sweet to know that little George and I will figure it out together, and as Alissa mentioned, I really do think I’ll be a better mom when I have some time to write as well as mother. But the journey is going to look very very different now. Richer, more complex, more beautiful. Thank you for the encouragement!

    • Forty-five minutes is indeed a WORLD when one emerges from the cave. It’s hard to keep my hunger for time to myself in check–every time I get a little bit, I want a little more, but I must be patient and remember that these hours with my baby are rich, just like you said, and the times when he is this little are so fleeting. Thank you!

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