The Great Alone

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

It is so easy to be pulled into the aloneness.

That part of our mind that is dark, that swims with the unknown and has doubt as a weapon. It’s the quiet, where nothing is in reach, and it’s hard to see clearly.

I pull up to the hospital Saturday morning, the one where Levi’s little brother has just been born in. I am all sweat, my hair stuck to my head, my clothes still wet from class. Levi was quiet for the ride, his eyes out the window, his breaths unsteady. He is uncomfortable, he says. He is nervous. He is also joyful, but I can tell he doesn’t want to show me this. Without saying it, I know he is afraid of the disconnect, of the pain that it must cause me to usher him into another life. To drop him into the hands of his father, and tell him how proud I am that he is now a big brother, a big brother to a child that has nothing to do with me.

His father comes out, walks towards our car. He is wearing the same pants he wore when I gave birth, which makes me want to both laugh and cry, so I do neither. He opens Levi’s door, and Levi looks at me. I smile so he knows I am fine, I am great, go and be excited, be a child. His father has that doughy softness, that serene calm that only comes with new life. His words are dripping in it, that wonder, and I can’t stand to hear it for a second longer so I rush the goodbye and drive away as I watch them walk into the hospital from my mirror.

My child, going to meet his own sibling, while I drive away.

My boy who is mostly with me, who sleeps beside me, who needs to snuggle in order to start his day. My boy who never stops talking, never stops dancing and playing and yelling and driving me crazy. My son, who has become my purpose. He lives an entirely separate life than me. He has a totally different family. Another woman will sit and watch him as he holds her child, both his and hers at once, and the man in the room will belong to both.

So I drive away, the sun blinding bright, my windows down so I can feel the cold air on my skin. The music is blasting and I am crying, the tears slipping quickly from my cheeks, pushed by the wind off my face. The music is loud, and the desire to slip into that aloneness becomes strong.

In that very same moment that my son was holding new life, my best friend was saying yes to her boyfriend as he knelt on one knee. The victorious beauty of engagement, that my soul friend, the best woman in my life, my rock, has said yes. Two new journeys were beginning in the very same moment. The tug of aloneness beginning to unravel.

I’m writing this because so many amazing people have checked in on me. I’ve received texts and calls and messages wondering if I’m ok, people recognizing the magnitude of change that has taken place.

Yes, I am ok. I am good, actually. Because as I drove back home, my hands waving wildly out the window in praise, my eyes stinging from the cold and tears, I felt relieved. I felt the grace and peace that only Christ can pour out all around me, on the hairs of my skin to the marrow in my bones. I let the bright light of the morning wash over me, thankful for where I am right now, resting in the knowledge that somehow it’ll all be ok.

When Levi’s father dropped him back off at home, we sat on the floor in my kitchen, Levi telling me everything about his gigantic baby brother, his father bringing up Levi’s own birth story, comparing some things. I mentioned the pants, the birthing pants, and we laughed. Laughter is the closest thing to prayer. It is the gift.

As his father drove away, back towards his other life, Levi looked at me and said, “I like it when you and daddy talk funny.” And that, somehow, is more important than any separation or disconnect or step this and half that. That is our common ground. And in that I can rejoice for my son, that he has a brother who shares his last name, who may resemble him (highly doubtful as Levi is my twin), but still, someone who he can whisper secrets to as they’re older. My heart is steady in my son’s joy.

And I think that maybe this is what motherhood is. This is what it really means. His joy comes before my own, and in turn, becomes mine. I’ll be learning this forever.

When that feeling of aloneness threatens, when everything seems to be growing for others and it’s easiest to go inward, to look at all I don’t have, all I’m behind in, I am forced to stop and think of Levi, and all that is good.

And then there is peace.


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