Little Daisy...

 …has arrived. She came into our lives early in the morning of April 3, and nothing has been the same since. She’s very sweet, and Mark and I have a hard time not spending all our time just looking at her…best show in town, as any new parent will tell you. It’s crazily fascinating, this little being with her scrunched up face and little sounds and tiny cry, insistent as it is cute.

The first weeks are a blur now…our natural birth left me proud but tired, and recovering is a whole body thing that I never thought about really until my tailbone, neck, head, and even jaw muscles joined the parts you’d expect for a couple weeks of achiness as everything found its way back to normal. Thank God for massage, for chiropractic care, for wonderful family members who kep us fed and tidied and sane as we tried to adjust to interrupted sleep, the new world of nursing, the art of interpreting Daisy’s little cries.

I had read about people who say that they instantly ‘knew’ their infant upon seeing them — having a sense of “oh! it’s YOU!” that overwhelmed them wth familiarity. So I have been surprised at how ‘new’ Daisy feels to me. She is a mystery, a lovely stranger that I’m greatly enjoying getting to know, a baby enigma that is at the moment at the center of our world with her new smiles and basic needs.

I have a new respect for my own mother (of six!), for all mothers, for mothers of multiples and adoptive mothers who may not always get the preparation period inherent in usual gestation. I feel at once like I’m the first and only person who’s experienced all this, and that I’m linked to all the mothers of eternity, all of us in a long linked chain of nurturing and astonishment.

I feel new tenderness for my father, for the power of fatherhood and its intense protectiveness and amazement. For its responsibility, its questions, its concern and sometimes helplessness.

Mark is a wondrous father. He is different with Daisy in a way that I love, a way that balances probably the sheltering nature of a woman’s instinctive care with an adventurous approach, a can-do attitude that fathers bring. He carries her differently, talks to her differently, asks her funny questions and already is teaching her things that I suspect will take at least a year to make sense to her, but it’s great and perfect.

Daisy frowned a lot in her early weeks, looking distressed and worried as we all tried to find our rhythms. I was reminded of a quote by one of the psychics — maybe Sylvia Brown? — who said that we often take on a lot, too much, when we’re on the ‘other side’, planning what we’d like to experience and achieve in this life on earth. And then when we get here, we’re a bit overwhelmed by how actually hard it is. And she added: “look at any infant — doesn’t the expression on their face usually look something like ‘oh shit…I don’t think this was what I imagined.’ ” Daisy had that look a lot early on and it was worrisome (will she be a frowny kid? will she be worried all the time?), but now at over five weeks, she’s relaxed quite a bit and smilesat us from time to time and looks around curiously. We are relieved and finding more fun each day as she responds more to our goofy faces and baby talking.

She was so impervious to sound these first several weeks that I began to think she had a hearing problem. Huge bangs, hammering, dogs barking — nothing would wake her up or startle her. This, too, has changed, and Mark and I have taken to tiptoeing out of her room upon putting her down so as not to wake her.

We are blown away by the generosity of our friends and family who have welcomed Daisy with wonderful gifts, cards, and wishes. From my ‘goddess circle’ women who beckoned her with a ‘Fairy Godmother birth bracelet’ of precious stones to the funny onesies sent by my brothers and sisters to terrific ‘daisy’ themed items — darling towels, robes, washcloths, slippers, dresses, pjs, and a million other things. The most adorable collection of items I’ve ever seen. She’ll be a little fashion icon until she’s two, at this rate. My brother Chris tells me that daisy items have now joined the inexplicably extensive collection of frog-themed stuff at my parents house. Frogs and daisies. …Okay.

Music and songwriting has taken a break from my main attention as we get used to our new life with Daisy. I did have a great opportunity to sing at the wedding of our dear friends Lily and Mark last weekend in Napa Valley. Mark is in Melissa Etheridge’s band, so she was there (which was cool!) and I got to visit with other great songwriter friends, like Beth Thornley and Rob Cairns and Dax Bauser. There seems to be an interesting theme among my songwriter friends lately, a relaxing of that desperation to ‘make it’, whatever that means. A lot of the writers we know have chosen to step back a bit, to take a break from the constant question of ‘what next? who can I send my record to? how can I get the next gig/exposure/connection?’ Which I think is healthy. Maybe we’ve all been working at it too many months (or years) in a row, maybe it’s a natural stage of one’s career when you just need to stop and reflect a bit, but it’s interesting how we each are approaching the process. Having Daisy has given me a natural break in the rhythms of writing, recording, performing…I feel certain that when I return to it full speed I will have found a new energy in the foundation from which to work. Others are choosing to just do an EP instead of a full-length record, to skip a couple music conferences, to write without an endgame for a few months or years. When people ask Dax what he’s doing at the moment, he honestly replies that he’s “figuring that out,” which I love. We all do do do so much. Maybe it’s important to remember to just be for a while, to remember who we are instead of running around trying to get so much done. I don’t know. But I will look forward to hearing the music and having the conversations on the other side of this journey. I think they will be rich and bright.

At the moment, we’re figuring it out too…caring and delighting in little Daisy, finishing our kitchen remodel (please God soon), getting bits more sleep in a row each day. I’m also thinking of walking a marathon, recording some spec pieces for “This American Life”, and working on a chilidren’s album that I’ve had on my mind for a few years now. It seems like the time for all these things. But for the moment, I’m psyched to have had a chance to write here a little bit.

Thanks for coming by. I hope you’re all wonderfully well.

5 Things I’m Thankful For Today:
1. That Daisy slept long enough for me to write this.
2. For the great soups that Lillian made that fill our freezer — delicious!
3. For a beautiful trip to Napa and our fun time at Carneros Valley Inn.
4. That so many people have welcomed Daisy with such enthusiasm and love.
5. Our friends who have been so supportive (and informative) — thanks you guys.

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