I just returned from my very first ‘babymoon’.
I’m not sure what Dr. Spock would say about the phenomenon, but I suspect he would approve of what I witnessed this weekend. He might even endorse it.
It wasn’t mine exactly; I was a witness to someone else’s ‘babymoon’. I must admit, I had not heard of ‘babymooning’ before, but now I’m a believer. I might even be an evangelist. I feel like spreading the word to the world.
It should be a commandment for all expecting parents: Thou shalt go on a
‘babymoon’. It should be covered by pre-natal health insurance. Pediatricians and psychologists alike should prescribe it. Heck, it should be mandatory federal law: Babymoons or jail.
A ‘babymoon’ is the au courant term for a honeymoon-like vacation or getaway that soon to be parents take as a last hurrah before the baby arrives.
I didn’t make this up. It’s legit. The New York Times wrote about it in 2007 and since then it’s been so trendy that luxurious high-end hotels, airlines and frou-frou all encompassing spa packages have gotten in on the act. But the babymoon I saw, amidst the ancient redwoods and crashing seas of Big Sur, cost very little and was priceless.
My friends Karen and Lucas combined their baby moon with their wedding, and threw in a honeymoon to boot. The weekend I was a privileged to be part of has proven to this non-believer one thing: Babies really do bring people together.
Karen, a Hollywood set decorator and writer, had been trying to adopt for years when she met Lucas, a Venice skateboarding musician internet whiz kid. They fell for each other. And then decided to live together. That’s when I met them.
I moved into the guesthouse behind their home and suddenly our lives were separated by only a green picket fence and a fig tree under which the owners of the property had planted the placentas of their babies. They said it was for good karma and fertility.
Karen and Lucas are no longer in the 20s or 30s. Like me, they are past the point of idealist romantic notions and I think they had all but given up on the Hollywood dream fantasy of love and marriage and the miracle of babies.
But before long the miraculous happened. The fruit of the fig tree bore more fruit. Karen and Lucas got pregnant. Then they got engaged. Hence the trek to Big Sur. Their mooning activities began. First up, the marriage.
A wedding usually involves lots of people and stress and conflict and family and a big party. But this was just about them, and just about the most unique intimate thing I have ever experienced.
Karen a beautiful, bountiful 6 months pregnant and Lucas the ever-earnest Groom and father to be, have wonderful timelessness about themselves and their relationship. Old souls wondering around the modern world. I was their witness, standing next to them like a proverbial guest house, this time separated this time by a new age minister and shaman named Soaring. My dogs, Curious and meme served as the ring bearer and flower girl.
Soaring placed her hands on Karen and Lucas – first on their hearts, heads, and then their feet and asked them to they look out into the horizon – and consider the endlessness of the union they were entering into. Then she placed a blessing on them and their son to be – Noah Jackson – who had a front row view of the nuptials, from inside Karen’s growing maternal belly hidden beneath a stylish Great Gatsby like dress. From out of nowhere, like the waves that crash on the coasts rocks, a tide
of unexpected tears and laughter washed over us – interrupted the service with a tsunami of emotion – baptizing the union; anointing this tribe to be.
There they were, in the middle of the day, in the middle of their life, in the middle of nature; the moment devoid of artificial rituals and guests and gifts and artifice. A holy circle was sealed.
I felt I was witnessing something special. A birth. A pre-birth-birth. The birth of a family. The minister was a midwife. I was a stand-in for all their friends and family past and future.
There is no book or manual or guide written for this thing they were doing. They were writing it as they went. The vows were unconventional and personal, the prayer unpolished and nondenominational and spontaneous and Karen, and Lucas – both totally traditionally on the outside, were winging it. Out on a limb. They were present to the moment.
This morning Lucas wrote about in his face book account: It couldn’t have turned out better. It turned out to be a wedding for just us, or just for the marriage. It wasn’t a last minute trip to Vegas and it wasn’t a yearlong obsession. A strange and wonderful thing about the ceremony was that it turned into an ecstatic experience, along the lines of being born again or doing peyote in the desert. It was related to crying our eyes out with joy at the same time that Soaring did a complex series of new
I went back to the beach the morning after, to take a dawn photo of the space as a keepsake for them and maybe pick up on some of Soaring’s residual blessings. Along the path a few left over rose pedals along with some day old dog pooh. My dogs ran over to the shore and trampled over a word that was etched in the sand.
Corny. Sure. But there is was. In big bold letters. Someone had come and gone at dawn and writ it in the earth.
I like to say, ‘some of my best friends are parents’. But I think I’ll start to claim, ‘some of my best friends are about to be parents.’ And to all of them I have one piece of advice: Do what Lucas and Karen and Noah did.
Take a baby moon. Now.
Go away to prepare a holy space for the baby that will be arriving. Get out of Ikea and into the woods.
To many new parents in our world, the baby has become a prop, an accessory or a vanity creation. When I think about the amount of time and money new parents won getting the room ready with cribs and toys and gadgets, paint and wallpaper and mobiles, I get overwhelmed. I wonder how many new parents skip the most important step of all in preparing for the arrival. It’s not about the room or the place; it’s about creating space in the relationship.
This is what Lucas and Karen created this past weekend.
And if their baby-honey-life-love-moon was any indication, Noah’s room is ready. His place in the world, in their world, in their relationship, is going
to be filled with love.
And that is cause for a celebration – and, if you’re smart, a vacation as well.