Lincoln Park, and my journey in motherhood
One of my very favorite spots in all of West Seattle is Lincoln Park. I have spent countless hours there running, walking, swimming, watching sunsets, having picnics, swinging, meeting up with friends and just being. Days after our first son, Asher, passed away when all my husband and I wanted to do was stay in bed, we made it a morning ritual after breakfast to go on a walk there. We would sit on the rocky shore, just us and our thoughts and write in our journals. In the coming months, I distinctly remember sitting on a park bench, a lump forming in my throat and tears filling my eyes every time a woman walked past with her newborn baby. The pain was so real, so vast, it felt like happiness was no longer an option. When I compared myself to others I didn't know their story or their pain, all I could see was my own.
A couple weeks after our first son passed we held a memorial for him on the grassy area near the water. It only seemed right to celebrate the person we loved in a place we loved. On that day and countless days to follow, the outpouring of love we felt from others started to wash away the sting of death. Fast forward two years later and a very pregnant version of myself walked through the park right past where we held the memorial for our first son. I remember the day before I was going to be induce with our second child the feeling so nervous, anxious and not being able to believe I would be meeting another one of children in mere hours.
Since Jasper's arrival we have visited Lincoln Park potentially hundreds of times. When Jasper was a newborn I spent every morning going on long walks with him; proudly and prominently strapped to my chest. I felt on top of the world and so honored and grateful he was mine. Whenever I thought about how much I loved him I would get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Last Summer was spent swimming in the pool and last Winter was spent learning to walk on these trails. I distinctly remember last Fall nervously telling a complete stranger I was pregnant with my third just days after I found out myself. Ironically, weeks later I started to miscarry at that same park.
If West Seattle had a heart, it would be Lincoln Park. Every major event in my life over the past eight years has been punctuated by its calming, healing and enduring presence. It has not mattered what has occurred in my life, the leaves on the trees still change color, drop and spring forth new life each year. The sun still shines through the trees, the wind still blows at my back, faintly caresses my cheek or nearly blows me over. We have been there in the darkest of nights and the longest of days. When I thought about where to photograph Jasper for his eighteen month birthday Lincoln Park seemed like the place. It only seemed right to celebrate the person we loved in a place we love.
Happy Mother's Day to those whose greatest desire is to be a mother, those who are in the daily trenches of motherhood and those who have warm memories of sticky fingers and slobbery kisses.