It’s very late at night…or early in the morning should I choose the more positive spin…and I am holding my son as he goes back to sleep. As I pat him on the back I am comforted as I feel my own back being patted by the generations that have come before me. I feel my Dad patting me and singing ‘Yellow Submarine’ and I feel my Mum stroking my hair as she reads ‘Annie and Moon’ just one more time. Beneath those I feel my grandparents’ warm hugs and knowing smiles. No, I’m not hinting at a 6th Sense baby whispering episode but rather marvelling at how I have never been more aware of my whakapapa. My connections. It’s as if somehow the amazing thread that connects us all has been strengthened even further. Cemented. And it is from this that I gather my own strength as he cries again, wakes again, needs again.
I am reminded about a woman that once discussed karanga with me. She told me that once you have children – it changes. It deepens. You are able to reach new levels of meaning and understanding. Your connection to this earth is forever altered, and therefore so is your karanga.
I had forgotten that conversation until now. But I believe she is right. When you have a child your world is changed. Your heart is swollen by a love that is fiercer than one ever thought possible. Giving birth is practically superhuman. The power you find in yourself was not there before. You find it from somewhere unknown. Buried deep in your blood from the women who have created your own journey. Because right when you are at your most exhausted, you find a way to forge the thread of that whakapapa one more time as you surrender your shattered body to feed your child.
Of course…I could just be really tired. But whatever it is that helps and gives me strength – what’s more important is that it does.