For the past months, November 24 has blazed across the sky of my mind, some strange icon, glowing, symbol of a question…who will this baby be?
Months ago, when I penciled a heart around the baby’s due date in my calendar, I noticed that November 24 was also a full moon. Will the full moon increase the likelihood that the baby will be born on November 24? I wondered. How many babies are born on their actual due dates, anyway? (Some quick googling–which, by the way, I recommend you avoid if you’re pregnant–reveals that the answer is around five percent, or fewer.)
Of course I had to make a monkey for our baby. It took me a long time to find the right socks, but I finally found a nice silky blend, thick enough to hold the stuffing in without showing through, but soft enough as well. I love making sock monkeys. But sock monkey faces are the hardest part. For me, the eyes are the feature most difficult to get right. I’ve often embroidered a face, only to tear out whichever feature didn’t look just right, or didn’t harmonize with its friends…too wide a mouth, or too small and stiff, eyes not friendly enough, the features combine to make an impression, and what if it isn’t just right?
In preparation to make the face on this monkey, I perused baby pictures of me, of my husband. But those photos hold faces impossible for me to objectify, to analyze. Even with the experience of redoing monkey faces, the entire unmarred surface of this monkey’s face has me completely still. Our doula suggested that maybe I need to wait to see our baby before I can do the face. Perhaps she’s right.
I saw something in this monkey’s face today. The world. More than the world, all possibilities, all that can hoped for but can’t be known, all dreams and wishes and love and fear and whispers, and night-tremblings, and skinned-knee realities to come, sullied ideals, in all their brazen realness.