It is done. A year’s work culminates in this. Patronage and Motherhood. After I lost Glycine I never dreamed I would be a mother again. I felt that stirring pain deep in my womb for a moment with Gorse’s touch, that promise that I could bear a babe inside me. But it would have been a spirit’s get. Not the seed of a lover buried in fertile ground. I am barren and I know this. I’ve accepted this truth about myself. The temptation to devote myself to him was so strong but after all I’ve done pursuing Apple, it just turned to ashes in my mouth.
I told Apple that my conflict was wanting to hold my childhood in one hand and my womanhood in the other. I so deeply want to honor both Apple and Gorse. Both the union and the fruit it bears. But I have courted Avalon Apple, and she has risen to meet me. They will give me a child to care for and I can raise another of our scared ones and teach them the ways of Vecatra.
Twofold shall I become a mother. I will protect and guide our circle to the best of my ability.
I tell myself all of these things. I will be strong. I will be brave. I will be wise, patient, and endlessly supportive. I will earn the respect of my community and my circle. I will stand side by side with Etienne and together we will move mountains. But what if I fail? With so many people counting on me, there is so far to fall. Apple, Etienne, my Crone, my circle. There are days the doubt consumes me and all I want is to walk into the thicket or hide in the woods forever.
But Vecatrans do not run in fear. We look upon our duty to each other, to the spirits, and to Vecatra herself, and know that challenges help us to grow into the very best people we can be. Just as a dandelion grows through the stones on the path, so too will I strive to reach the sun.