The Rocking Chair

A little more than 100 years have graced its frame. More than 100 years of stories told, countless cries soothed, memories relived underneath the setting sun and thoughts of new lives yet to begin.

It is the place where we sit in the middle of the night as your drift to sleep. Your soft snores soothing my own tired body. The place I go to rock you when nothing else will do. Where I share with you the story of your birth, the love your father and I have built and this magical place called Sonoma. 

You do not seem to mind that it is an antique and has a slight squeek in the springs. The formality of the frame is of little difference to you. The only thing you seem to care about is the heartbeat of the one holding you and the rhythm of their rocking.

Without your knowing you add your own story to this piece of art. Your own cries and dreams bring even more character to its frame, binding you ever so gently to those who have come before and those yet to arrive.

Alicia JohnsonComment
On Raising a Boy

The 'me too' movement was in full swing when I found out the baby I was carrying was a boy. I was thrilled. And yet I immediately began to view the emphasis on female much differently.

And then a few days ago that feeling returned - I saw a little girl wearing a shirt - The Future is Female, it read. And my stomach began to ache.

I am a feminist. I was raised by feminists, as both my mom and dad advocated for and supported women and girls with a deep passion. I'm proud that the accomplishments I've made have been because of those feminists before me. I know I'm able to be the best parent I can be and continue my career in large part because of feminism. And I am grateful.

But it is different now. Now that I hold a little  boy in my arms. The future is not solely female. For his sake and for mine, it cannot be. The future MUST be human. We must step beyond one gender currying favor over another. The future must be re-made. We can no longer subscribe to this outdated mode. We must re-define the norm to suit the young children seeking respect and tolerance throughout the world.

Each day I ask the Universe to allow me to raise a man who values all women and men with equity. That he will do everything in his power to support another's quest to be their own best self. That he may be curious enough to inquire gently about others.

And then I snuggle him close, kiss his forehead and tell him he will be a great human.

Alicia JohnsonComment
I turn 37 tomorrow...

Tomorrow I turn 37.

And I finally know what e. e. cummings meant when he wrote - I carry your heart in my heart.

I am not young, but not yet old. I am about to be a mother. And I am not afraid. Excited, yes. Uncertain, of course. Anyone who says they aren’t is lying. Through their teeth. But I am strong in my belief, this is a blessed human and we are blessed to be able to raise him. To show him life and experience it through his eyes.

As I type, his tiny feet and hands trace the inside of me. It makes me smile, to understand with new appreciation how capable a body is. I have heard countless times, your body is no longer your own. But as I celebrate my own birth, I must disagree. My body is mine. It belongs to me. It is capable of housing a small human for 40 weeks. But I have gone no where during those weeks. And I will remain, though not unchanged, as my body births what it has taken nine months to grow.

Of all birthday’s this is the most special. I will never again be able to repeat the gestation of this boy and for that I know exactly why I carry his heart deeply embedded in my own.

To 36, thank you for changing me in ways I do not yet know.

And to 37, thank you for welcoming me into a new sisterhood, a new experience and a deep, abiding love.

Alicia JohnsonComment