My mom, who loves to garden, had three of her babies in the heat of the summer. The months of those years, when both the land and her belly was full and ripe, did not mix well with each other. She talks about the marigolds she planted those years—flowers that can withstand neglect and the scorch of the sun. My sisters and I were all born in the marigold season—into the warm dirt of the earth that grows, for a short season, against gravity—pushing up flashes of color and delicate petal that tell the air to make room.
Last summer, my garden grew wild, so that finding a harvest beneath the vines and thick leaves became a treasure hunt. I understood my mother then, because I was too tired to plant even marigolds over the thick curve of my budding stomach. This summer, my garden is tame and tall and it is my daughter who is wild—who cannot be still, who must reach for everything, who laughs and cackles and bangs and rolls, who wears every emotion like colors of the rainbow and shares each of them with us daily. She is a flash of orange shooting up toward the sun, and as we work in the garden— me digging up weeds and she trying to eat them— I pray this wildness will never, never be tamed.
The wildness and weightlessness have surprised me most about motherhood. I see it again when we are at the swings, while her plush white skin presses against black rubber and she looks at me with eyes that have swallowed the sky. Her fingers grip the sun-warmed metal, and she squeals every time the swing falls back toward me. Her entire consciousness is wrapped up in the moment— in the suspension between the ground and the air.