Your Very Own Moon
Today the trees are blossoming, little buds making their way into the world. Birds sing, flitting from tree to tree in a dance of celebration. The sun dances its way up the sky, wrapping its strong arms around this part of the earth. I place my hands on my stomach just as you somersault, and I wonder once again what your name will end up being.
You see, little one, in my eager attempt to discover your name, I’ve watched other people speak, hoping it would fall from their lips. I’ve looked at magazines, asking for your name to appear in bold lettering. I’ve even perused books that boast hundreds of baby names, only to throw them aside and admit that you are not Lydia or Penelope or Grace.
When I ask your father if he has a name in mind, he shakes his head.
We are both at a loss. But I tell myself this is okay. Your name is traveling here now from far away, and when it arrives, I will know, my sweet child. I will know because it will fit you just right.
Even though your name hasn’t yet arrived, I am learning about you. For example, I know that you are gentle and fierce all at once. The first time I feel your gentleness, you are eighteen weeks old. You flutter like a butterfly and tap your wings where I imagine you can see light coming through my skin. Tenderness explodes in my chest when you do this, I swear right then and there that I will carve out a joyous passage for you with my boat, and that you will know the dark waters of this world as a safe place to rest.
Two weeks following this, I’m sitting on the sofa with your dad, watching a sad movie when I begin to cry. My tears must move you because soon you are kicking mightily, a fierce warrior-in-training. Your father puts his face real close to my belly, and you kick so hard, he jolts. “That was her?” he asks as though he can’t quite believe it. I nod, proud, the small forest of love inside me continuing to grow.
You are as quiet as can be when I play Diana Krall or Feist. But when I play nature music, you tap your feet with pleasure. I imagine that you hear, as though from a great distance, the rain pitter-pattering its silvery notes, the ocean sighing its soliloquys, the wind chasing itself in play.
One day, your tiny voice will take its rightful place among nature’s symphony, and that’s when my own voice will drop to a whisper. You will test the strength of your cries, and I will sing lullabies, my voice a low croon.
Until that day, we will listen to music together, your movements inside my belly telling me what your preferences are. I will listen, because this is what mothers do.
In one of the ultrasound images I have of you, your eyes are closed as though you are in a dreamworld. Your nose is pronounced like my own, and your hair is already growing, a silken shawl for your head.
My dear child, I have a dreamworld too. In my one dream of you, you are seven or eight years old already, and you are as articulate as a young adult. Your intense eyes are perceptive, and your hair is dark. Your skin is fairer than my own. In this dream, I am uncertain for some reason or other (I am this way in real life), and you reason with me in a way that reminds me of your father. Eventually, I agree with you, and then we stand up, walk out onto the sand where the sun shines down on us. I hold your hand in mine, profoundly aware that you are your own person.
Your name has finally arrived, a gift. Let me tell you how it happens. Your father and I are browsing a local gift store. I linger over hand-carved jewelry boxes, not because I want one, but because I find them beautiful. I peer into one, and that’s when a piece of paper falls into the palm of my hand. I read the tiny print, curious, and I learn about the moon festival in Greece that honors Luna, Roman moon Goddess. The festival takes place in August on the day when the fullest and most beautiful moon graces the night sky.
I walk over to your father. “Luna,” I say, excited. “Luna could be her name.” I am sure my eyes are glowing because inside I am glowing.
“I think you are right,” he says, nodding, pleased in his own quiet way.
On our way home, I say your name again and again, reveling in its lyricism and strength, in how it fights you just right.
My dearest Luna, I hope that you will love your name as much as we do.
It is nighttime now, and my body demands rest. The moon peeks from behind a wispy cloud, and an owl hoots in the beckoning dark. I wonder what dreams will come to me on this magic night, and whether you will be in them.
As I fall asleep, you somersault once again, stretching your newly formed limbs as though you are already reaching for the sun and moon and stars. Just remember, you are also your very own moon, and the glow of your light will always guide you.
Juliana Crespo is an English teacher at a high school in Bloomington, Indiana. She has an MFA in fiction from Indiana University and an M.A. in fiction from University of Nevada, Reno. Her stories are often informed by her Brazilian heritage.