My legs feel heavy and I am acutely aware of every inch of my body. The bruise that is lingering, yellow and sullen on my right shoulder, just below my collarbone. The rivulet of sweat creeping its way down the nape of my neck. The wisp of hair that won’t be contained. Music is blaring through my headphones, trying to drown out the whine of the old treadmill and the weighty thuds of each step.
My internal dialogue reminds me to keep moving. To will my feet to keep stride, not break the pace that is too fast for my first run in months.
I know you will wake soon. You will call for me, gentle and lilting at first- with your tone becoming increasingly irritated at my inaction. I will urge my body to move up the stairs and I will pick you up from your bed. Sweaty and sweet. I will pause at your door, watching the way your limbs cast shadows in the morning light and savoring the last few moments of quiet. And then our day will begin. Rushing to dress and to eat and to get in the car and to make it to work and to school and to get home and to make dinner and to read books and to get into bed and…
(Recently, crouched on my kitchen floor, I spoke with a friend about his desire to simply do everything. Ringing in his birthday at midnight with popcorn and whiskey, he described all of the things he was certain he needed to achieve. These things appeared insurmountable to me. At least I am reasonable, I mused. Realistic. I wonder now who I was trying to convince)
In the literal sense, I am moving,
My days are full.
But I feel stuck.
Before bed, you become suddenly inconsolable. You ask me in a voice sweeter than I have heard in a while if we could rock for a few minutes. I gather you in my arms and into my lap. My mind meanders back to the hundreds of hours I have spent in that very chair, in motion but unmoving.
Moments when you were swaddled on my chest, where I was both exhausted and breathless at the beauty of you. When I read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” for the thirtieth time. It was in this chair we rocked when your body was scorched with fever, when your mind was clouded with nightmares and some nights, when I just needed to be near to you as my own tears fell, hot and shameful.
You have almost outgrown my lap. I quietly begin to sing our lullaby and you sing along, knowing every single word. You reach upwards, almost absent mindedly, to stroke my hair, one arm thrown lazily around my neck. When our song is over, you launch into a dialogue about our life, our friends, how you used to rock in this chair every night when you were a little baby.
Blurring the edges of this soft, subtle moment are my doubts about the choices I have made. A mistake or regret lingers in every corner of my mind. Some are dusty, rusted. Others are shiny and bright and painfully new. I’ve grown tired of learning experiences, tired of keeping tally of the things that could and have and should go wrong.
But if I had to do it all again, to lead me to this moment with you- it is unquestionable that I would. I make (and have made) so many mistakes. I hurt myself, over and over again, often just to remind myself to feel.It's often I find myself thinking that I spend many of my days moving back and forth, but not forward.
But you. You remind me to savor the seconds I have that are just pure. You are a living, dancing, epic tantrum-throwing reminder that I have been blessed to be a part of something so much bigger. A vastness I can’t truly begin to appreciate, but that I get to glance at through your fearless brilliant blue eyes.
And my face buried into your neck, trying to pour my gratitude onto your skin, I whisper thank you.