Parenting: Holding On With Open Hands
I picked her up from school on Friday and she didn’t let me go for three days. She held my hand or wrapped both hands around my arm. She slept in my bed. She told me she didn’t want to be alone. She didn’t want to play alone. She just needed to hold on real tight.
You want to hold on, my little one? Go ahead. Hold on. I’ll steady you while you grow so quickly. I’ll sit here with my coffee while you build another horse stable and princess tower. I’m right here. And when I’m not, as things go these days, I’ll love you from here. I’ll fill my days with beautiful things. I’ll read books and write and prepare meals and take up space. I’ll hold your space, too. I’ll hold your space until you’re back when time moves you back to me here. And again, I’ll let you hold tight until you find ways to steady yourself. Because I won’t ever hold you tight, dear one. I’ll always hold you with these open hands so you may come and go and come back again. Like you do.
She didn’t have a name for me until she was 16 months old, when she finally started to call me Mommy. It wasn’t because I was always there, because I wasn’t. She was in daycare, I was at work. Now she calls me mom when she’s frustrated with me. It’s usually because I won’t get up to get her more paper every time she asks. She always needs more paper. I’m not always there now, either. But I’m always hers.
“We need to go soon. Can you go put your high tops on?”
“My high tops? Oh yeah! I can do that! Be right there! Stay where you are!”
All the giggles and shuffling…
“Mommy! How do you like MY high tops?”
“They’re my favorite. Just like you.”