A few years back I worked with a very sweet, very dedicated and very smart woman named Ula. She lived in California with her growing family, and I of course live in NY, but we worked very well together for about a year. I brought her on board to help me with client work, and she was very happy to be able to stay home with her babies while earning income part-time. Then she had some family tragedy hit, and she had to go back to Poland, her native country, to take care of that. Shortly after (around August of 2010), she told me she’d decided to leave the world of online marketing (that’s currently my day job), to start a business making baby carriers.
And I thought….”Damn, I’m going to miss working with such a good person.”
We stayed in touch thanks to Facebook. Otherwise, she would’ve been one of the many people in my life that drifts in then out – and I would’ve wondered about her, and her business, and felt that sense of awe that is inspired by people who decide to take a risk, and follow their dreams.
When Ana got sick, Ula found out via my Facebook feed. She offered to do a giveaway of one of her baby carriers whose popularity was growing by bucketfuls. I gave her my blessing, and over the next few days she raised over a thousand dollars. This was back in 2012, and I’ve always been grateful for the Tula moms who donated their money for my family.
The journey has been long, and the bad news we got on 12/9/14 was a hard blow for Ana, for me, for our family…and for the extended community of so many people who have been with us on this bumpy ride since the beginning. Everyone wants to help, but Ula (and Tula) have already helped so much.
That’s why I was so surprised on 12/23/14 when I woke up to dozens of donations. Ula had done it again. She organized a fundraiser/giveaway and asked her dedicated following of Tula lovers to donate $30 to Ana – in return they would be entered to win a limited edition Tula carrier. Ula gave me a heads up about this giveaway and invited me into a Facebook group called “Tula Love” with nearly 30,000 proud baby wearing parents. The contest will end at midnight on New Year’s day, and collectively these fierce, proud, loving moms (and dads) will have raised over $8,000 for Ana’s wishes. (exact amount to be posted on New Year’s Day).
To the Tula wearers who donated money or prayers, well wishes and white light, I am in awe of your generosity. I feel enveloped by this group – even though my children have moved far beyond baby-wearing age. Thank you for your donations – we can now grant one of Ana’s travel wishes (probably the Grand Canyon trip)!
You have given me more than money though. I’ve felt my spirit lifted as I’ve looked at pictures of your babies, happily ensconced in their beautiful Tula carriers. It really brought me back to those early, upside down days of first moments – first smiles, first words, first steps – little, chubby baby fingers…
Parenting comes in stages, just like everything else in life, and it’s easy to forget the old stages when you’re caught up in the new. But you…with your little ones held close, your endless enthusiasm for all things baby, your young, new families….you helped me remember the stage of mothering that, for me, is gone forever. Before homework, before video games, before make-up, before eye-rolling and growing pains. Before cancer.
You can’t know how much I needed this reminder.
I wrote a poem when Ana was still a newborn that I want to share with you all. I was sleep deprived and terrified of doing something wrong (you all seem way more confident than I ever felt!) I wrote this when Ana (who will always be my baby) was six weeks old. The place I was in when I wrote this was strange, and foreign. I wasn’t sure how I’d arrived there, or if I would ever adjust. But whenever I read this poem I close my eyes and try to feel that newness again – just a for a few seconds. Hold tightly to it – it goes by so damn fast.
I’m floating through these days
as drops of time come and go
in my awareness.
But there is no linear logic
to the newly born.
She exists in a spiral
she takes what she needs.
I can almost feel the pure air
of the before-place
on her breath.
That place where souls await birth.
I can smell it on her skin
still lingering six weeks later
the meaning of life
lies in the palm
of her tiny hand.
To those with little ones who haven’t heard of Tula Baby Carriers – please check them out. The least I can do is send Ula some new business. I’d meant to publish this post on New Year’s Day, but accidentally published it last night, so I’m going to keep it live starting now.