Sunday, May 9, 2021


There's a muscle memory in handling your own baby—the way you set him on your hip, or play with his hair, or clip his fingernails. It has become second nature to look for furniture corners, to check the temperature of his fish sticks, to smell parts of his body (like his feet, his bum, the crook of his neck). When he's away or asleep, I still think about him, remembering his voice in song and laughter and conversation, picturing the birthmark on his left cheek, and the tan lines behind his knees, and his round belly full of fruit. I think of random things he says to AI: "Alexa, turn on the lights to 50%." Or "Alexa, play 'What a Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong." I think of things he says to me: sometimes it's, "Mommy, you're so special," or, "Mommy, are you happy?" or with a truthful sting, "Mommy, I don't want to hear anymore crying." 

There were moments during that very dark (and very recent) season when I would spiral into depression, and without fail, the thought of his laugh was enough to pull me out of the murk. I'd cherish every little memory, every ember that's kept me warm, every smile that restored hope. But there were a few but jarring times when things were REALLY bad, and despite the thoughts of his laughter and jokes and songs, I'd still feel lost.  And feeling lost, I'd wander off, trying to find myself, trying to find my way home.  With a bit of imagination, I'd picture his little voice saying, "Mommy left me," and that grievous and painful statement would echo out into the forest, becoming a beacon for me to come back to the land of the living.  And I'd come running back, because that's where he is: in a state of joy, trust, compassion, and warm love. And that place where he is—so full of life—is exactly where I want to be.