For Navajo, four is a sacred number. We have four sacred mountains, four sacred gifts & four directions. Our oral history, if you pay attention is laden with symbolism and the number occurs frequently. Today, Kale is 4 months old. I look at him and am amazed. He has grown, he is truly a miracle.
For months, I’ve been meaning to load photos from my camera and phone to my new laptop. I’ve finally started the process. Looking through the photos has been both exciting and in some instances, very heartwarming.
Kale is much more active than he was in the past. Every day he learns and teaches me something new. Our relationship has grown as time has passed. I could have sworn to you that I understood the extent and parameters of love before I had him, but as I’ve said before, in retrospect-this type of love can not be quantified. I now believe that as we grow together, my understanding of a great number of things will change and deepen. In short, my son has made me a better human being, a better woman. There is no greater gift.
Navajo often speak of women highly. Mothers are very much admired. It is the ultimate role with the most status attached to it. Having grown up that society, I didn’t quite understand it. Nor did I understand the pressure to have children. I often rejected it and saw it as petty and “easy.” My own mother, much as I love and struggle with her, did not teach me much about what it meant to be a stable woman. I’ve watched her struggle and run, but I’ve never seen the stability that I heard other people talk about or that the culture exaults. My grandmother on the other hand demonstrated courage, humility and compassion. At times, I felt her compassion was a weakness and even at times today I believe her emotions leave her prey to the vultures in my family. But, in speaking with her, she has always left me with a few strong convictions: never leave your children, travel/explore, eat well and always, always work.
I hope that I can be a good mother to Kale and that he learns to respect women because if he can do that, he can do anything.
Note: the photo of Kale in his duck robe was taken this morning, after he pooped and it spilled out onto my hand. Parenthood = never ending surprises.