Shortly after finding out I was pregnant with our first child, we went on a family trip to Maui. Snorkeling through coral reefs, among zig-zagging fish and sea turtles was an experience I will never forget. While floating, I thought of the child in my womb and how I hoped they could experience this wonder some day. Even though my son didn’t experience the snorkeling first hand, it felt like we were dancing through the coral reefs together. I wrote this poem right after snorkeling to remember. On my first Mother’s Day with my son outside of the womb, I’m remembering this precious moment and all of the moments of wonder my son has had so far: his face lighting up at the presence of our dog, his tiny fingers running through the grass, touching a tree for the first time. I’m so grateful to be experiencing these first with him and dream of our continued explorations. To my dear, sweet son who brings joy and laughter every day, I love you. Let’s keep exploring the wonders of this world.
When you were yet in my womb
we pirouetted in the push and pull
of an underwater ballet
moving in the same force
as the butterflyfish, tangs,
parrotfish, and wrasse.
This world, this world of brilliant blue
and neon yellow,
of cauliflower coral, brain coral
is the world you will soon inherit.
When you walk on this planet
built of colonies of polyps
and singing humpback whales
I hope you explore in wonder.
But child, you will walk on a planet
fragile and fatigued
the coral reef where we spun
Together, you and I,
we will nurture, redeem, and dance
caring for the damselfish and oak trees
as our friends in divine creation.
When you leave your watery womb
you will find this watery world
marvelous and broken
dance with me, child, and
together we will redeem.