Jeanne, on Love. 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.
"The first time I saw your father, I didn't know it would be love. Love for me was late nights spent in silence, a silhouette on the threshold of the room, excuses that rang like lies, a blue mark on my forearm. So on this sunny day where he sat across from me in the carriage of an irish train headed west, I didn't recognise him. I saw the hair and the eyes and the funny lopsided smile, and I liked his hands, and his voice – but this wasn't love yet. This love sneaked up on me over time, this love was patient.
Once, we were on a different train, a slow, green-lit carriage en route for a northern city in Japan. I was looking at our reflection in the window, both sitting down on the floor hugging our backpacks. He was listening to something that made him look melancholic. A few hours later, at dawn, we crossed a new city on foot and found ourselves in a random café that served a strange breakfast of cold rice, eggs and kimchi that you ordered through a machine. In the bathroom mirror, my face was grey from the lack of sleep and my hair was a mess, but when I came back at the table he looked up and smiled at me, a smile warm enough to melt all the frost outside, and I thought – this is what I want my life to be. Traveling by train with him. Sitting in shitty cafés trying new food with him. Getting lost in this world with him. And I knew this love had grown.
Once, we had just moved to Ecuador, or rather he had followed me without questions - this love was bold. I was sitting on the bed, a pregnancy test burning a hole in the pocket of my jeans (- the first message from you, my love), and I said “I need to tell you something”. And he smiled and said “You're pregnant!”. He didn't ask – he just knew. I thought he would be worry, upset, or mad even. But he hugged me and he laughed and laughed, not worried in the slightest that we were having a baby on the far side of the world. He had just turned 25. And I knew this love was brave.
When I said I would stay in Ecuador to give birth to you, he supported me. When I said I wanted a undisturbed birth in our home, he supported me. When I said I didn't want our families there, he supported me. He came with me to every appointment, did rebozo work with me, meditated with me. He even listened to the part where they tell you about your baby surfing the waves, and tried his hardest not to lose it. When I was in labour he was standing next to me, in silence, and I could feel his peaceful strength pulsing through the air. His arms carried me in and out of the pool where you were born. This love was the only thing I needed to bring you into the world.
Before him, love was never a safe place. I used to lose myself in it, like walking into a labyrinth at night without a torch. I used to run into it like you'd run into a stormy sea, and hope I would get swallowed, devoured. The urgency was normal. The doubts, the pain, the tears and bruises I was left with, walking away with a limp, I thought it was normal. I was naïve, and I believed them when they said that love should hurt to be real. Now, every day of our lives together I watch my love being your father – carrying you on beaches and trails, through cities ; making you laugh so hard you can't catch your breath ; holding your little head between his hands as you're drifting off to sleep. I watch him get up with you in the morning before sunrise, so that I may rest – and carry you off to play so that I get some time alone. I watch him work outside in the rain for hours, then come back inside freezing and muddy and take you in his arms and dance with you. I watch him stay up late to study when everybody goes to sleep. And day after day I learn that this love is deeper, kinder, more selfless and more resilient than I ever thought love could be."
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