Jeanne, on Discovery. Sling Diaries, Vol VII.
The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
Spring is here, and you are on the move. Crawling across the room, pushing on your legs to stand up, climbing every piece of furniture you can find. You are sociable to the extreme, smiling and babbling at strangers. You are curious about everything, and you are fearless. Even when the cat loses patience and scratches you, five bright red streaks shining through your hair, you're back to chasing it not two minutes after, the fright and the tears forgotten. I look at you and I see an explorer, roaming through unknown territories and taking every day as a new adventure.
Years ago, I was an explorer too, walking in jungles and climbing mountains, always looking for secret places. Places I could be alone to discover. Places so far from everything I knew I had no choice but to lose myself and disappear in them. Now I sit in the familiarity of this house, this life, our daily routine. Traveling taught me many things ; now I learn from you.
I learn about closeness. As you swim up to me in the bath and nuzzles against my skin, I hold my breath. I soak up every second of this communion that will soon be over. I wipe the sleep from the corners of your eyes, finish the bit of apple you were snacking on. My milk sprays in your hair and adorns you with tiny white pearls. It doesn't feel strange to me. I remember when we were one, and as you drift off to sleep I whisper that I will always be your home.
I learn about selflessness. As I pick you up for the hundredth time I feel the ache in my shoulders, my lower back, feel the muscles in my arms tighten. You gave me this strength. I never thought I could love anyone as to forget myself completely at times. And yet as I wake up night after night and nurse you back to sleep, there is no resentment, no tiredness. Just patience, and calm.
I dream about you. I see the little girl that I dreamt about for months whilst you were in my belly. Her hair is this glowing, dancing wave of gold, black and red, but her eyes are yours now. We are in a forest. You take me by the hand and say “I show you, Mama”. And I follow you through the lush, deep woods, exploring clearing after clearing and drinking from every spring. And although you are an explorer, to me you are also the forest.
You are eight months old. I learn you a little more everyday – the frown that signals you're thinking, the laugh that turns so easily into a cry when you're tired. I navigate without a map – learning your cues like reading the moss on the trees or the prints in the mud. I know this journey will be long, and sometimes arduous. Sometimes there will be thorns and bushes I cannot see through. Sometimes the stars will be shrouded in mist and I won't be able to move in the dark. I walk on. I explore the person that you are, the one you are becoming. I walk knowing the forest will only become deeper, the maze more complex. I walk knowing one day your path will lead on so far in front of me I will have to stop and let you go.
But to be your guide, your companion on this tiny bit of the path, my love, will always be the greatest honor of my life.
Thank you for taking me on this adventure.
Follow along with Jeanne over on Instagram, @womanoftheriver, and The Sling Diaries on Pinterest.