As I have written in here before, I started an email account to my young daughter. I send her emails with the intent of giving her the email/password when she is older. These are all the things I struggle to tell her, just as my mother struggled to tell me.
Under the heather colored sky of this early December morning, the world was quiet. The snow was a damper of sound & we felt alone in the cushy silence. We trudged through the blanket of snow to the bus stop. There we were, just you and I, hand in hand, kicking up a dusting of sparkling, iridescent cold with our boots…Stirring up the undisturbed white in the still, quietude of a winter morning felt like we were forcing our way through a tear in some earthly screen to the other more heavenly side of things.
As we walked, we tried to catch snowflakes…lacy pinpricks of winter dissolving on our tongues. I asked you what your snowflake tasted like. Under the brightening skyline, you considered it deeply. “Cotton candy. Yours?” “Coconut,” I said looking down at you, smiling. Popcorn, marshmallow, mint…a palette of flavors culled from our imagination assigned to each new flake we caught. Finally, I asked you what you thought the sun tasted like. Without hesitation you answered, “pineapple.” I laughed delightedly at your sure shot response. It was as though you had been waiting all your life to be asked this one whimsical question.
When we finally arrived at your bus stop, I realized with a brandywine-drunk-by-the-fire kind of warmth in my chest, that your mitten’d hand was still holding tight to my cold, bare hand. You’re almost 7 now, a “7 year old teenager” as you call yourself. These days, you mostly try to worm your hand out of mine & I am left chasing it with the desperate clutch of my own tired, utilitarian hand. Hands that washed you in the kitchen sink as you pursed your little rosebud lips at the new feeling of sudsy water….hands that held you to my chest, as I made promises (that I realistically know I can’t keep) to always protect you from the battering of a sometimes heartless world…hands that lovingly ruffled your beehive of curls, when you were but a nesting doll resting in my arms. Yes, my hands are deeply lined with the memories of holding you & I am not ready for your hands to leave mine…but I know the day is closer than I want to admit. For today, however, we inhabited some pretend world together & your hand was eclipsed in the protective shell of mine own. And I was happy, at peace.
When you consider having children, no one tells you it’s the little passing moments like these that will turn the crank on your world, keep it spinning like an unfettered globe. You think it’s the holidays, the milestones, & the big events that will be the ultimate—but it’s these brief brushes with your child’s pure & unconditional love for you that make you feel infinite in an otherwise forgetful universe. It’s these little collisions with your child’s adoring perception of you that give you aim and fire and grit. And it is in this fierce forging, Bridgey-Cat, that you have shown me as the person I have always wanted to be…a version of me that no other relationship has ever been able to gift me. And so, selfishly, I ask of you—hold my hand just a little bit longer. I know you’re a big girl & you no longer need it…but I do. Tell me about the taste of the sun, the taste of the earth, and I will describe how the flavor of both have been sweeter ever since you arrived.