On Wednesday, June 13th, in the wee hours of the morning my beloved and I welcomed our second child, Heath Henderson Saussy, into this wide and wonder-filled world. The snapshot above is one of the first we took of him. He is held by his big brother Jasper and me, and we are all held by my incredible husband who is behind the camera. Though the image is blurry, it captures the closeness of our family and the feeling of these early days of getting to know this new bright soul.
Many of you have checked in on me and us, sending sweet messages and gifts and all kinds of love. Again, words cannot do justice to how much love I feel radiating from our community. We are all settling in really well. I am healing quickly from labor and delivery, Jasper is taking to big brotherhood with his characteristic sensitivity, insight, and good-heartedness; and David, my ever-more-amazing husband, partner, and love, is making sure that not only baby H is well-taken care of but that we all are.
The hours leading up to the birth were full of that stillness and depth that I have long associated with the most potent kinds of magic. One of the first things I did as early labor began was to call in my ancestors, for our lineage loves nothing so much as to welcome new legacy, the new stand ever strong upon the shoulders of the old; they are our foundation.
My ancestors form a colorful quilt around me – they hailed from the shores of Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, and France. They came from Mexico and Eastern Europe. They were among the First Nation peoples indigenous to this country. My ancestors were all, with the exception of my Native American and Mexican relatives, immigrants to not only the United States, but the entire continent of North America. All seeking out the promise, possibility, and safety that eluded them in their native lands. And so, enfolded by my ancestors, and doing the serious work of bringing new life into the world, I was also deeply aware of the crisis occurring at the border, which, as a San Antonian, is my backyard. Aware, as I held my own babies, that thousands were having their babies forcibly removed from their arms because they too, like my ancestors, wanted something in the way of promise and possibility; something in the way of safety.
Summer Solstice is today. It is the day when the light shines the longest, a threshold moment that ushers in the second half of the year wherein the light will slowly begin to lessen a bit with each day. It is also a reminder that though the days darken and the shadows grow longer, the most essential light is not the one emanating from the Sun but the one we carry in heart, mind, and eye – the light by which we are seen and the light by which we see.
And so a poem prayer for this Solstice – dedicated to my sweet babies and to the families that have had their babies taken.
Light our way.
Not away from the dark, but deeply into the shadows, carry us.
So that we may see into the corners of cages,
And beyond the barrier of barred windows and doors,
Light our way, steady now, so that we do not, cannot, pretend to unsee what has been seen.
Light our way.
Into the tear streaked sands of soul and soil.
So that we may touch and hold the outstretched, empty hands,
Grasping at the thin air that is rent by the mourning keen.
Light our way, steady now, so that we do not, cannot, pretend to unhear what has been heard.
Light our way.
Back to the place of firm and strong standing.
Where the foundation stones are named decency, compassion, mercy, faith, hope, justice, truth, and love.
So that we may know ourselves both as we are, and also as we can be – best and worst.
Light our way, steady now, so that we choose ever and again to show up as our best, even and especially when we see how short we fall.
Light our way.
Reminding us that it is never too late to right the wrong,
to lay down the threads of safety, protection, and connection.
Threading what has been into bright and blessed weaving of what is yet to come.
Light our way, steady now, so that we choose to heed the old stories and remember the old teachings as we create new tales replete with hope and hard truth and love that endures.
For those who refuse to look away, you can support efforts to reunite families torn apart at the border by donating to RAICES directly, purchasing these scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs (with all proceeds going to RAICES), and/or supporting the ACLU.
From my family to yours,