Family, Home, Parenting



He slides into bed next to me, his left side far warmer than his right.  His chilled skin  presses in as he drinks from my heat.  “Can you put your arm around me?” He asks.

“Sure, scoot down.”

A shifting.  The sheets tangle and we kick ourselves back to softness.  Dark lingers.  December morning takes her sweet time stretching awake.  We wait her out.

“It’s funny how the neck is shaped,” he says in his dreamy murmur.

“How so?”

“It’s like it’s designed exactly right so someone’s arm can fit underneath.”

He snakes a leg over my left and under my right, snaggled toes seeking the pillowed weight of my calf.  He reaches the length of me now.  This has happened.  Ten years and here, with his hair tickling my jaw, his feet lie loose across mine.

The impression of the tiny beast still marks my skin.  His infancy thrums there, a damp comma curled into my belly and chest.

Continuity hides in the wardrobe of finality.  Once a devotee of context, now I read each moment as a complete sentence, unable to catch the breath at the end (and then, and then, and then. . . )  This is parenthood’s steady (or is it sudden?) erosion of fluency.  Weariness plays tricks on perception.  Serial appears as parable and the mind finds its relief in taking this moment’s story as the only story.

Our morning drifts on like this, as if nothing waits on the other side.  I fear this blindness and cherish it too.  Of course I know my boy will prefer his own bed soon, and then his own room, and then his own place in his own world (and then, and then. . .)

Now he creaks awake into the frosted dawn, this frosted dawn, and comes padding across the distance to find my warmth.  It can’t matter that I’d rather stay soaking alone in my private dream lagoon.  It can’t matter that we’ll both grump and fumble through our mid-afternoon exhaustion.  The only thing to do is turn back the blankets and unfurl the sash of my body.  A decade since he left it, and it fits him perfectly. For this fleeting forever, we fold into one.

Image: Rob Gonsalves, “Making Waves”

4 thoughts on “Burrowing”

  1. The older I get, the more I like hugging. When I was little the
    people hugging me were much larger. In their grasp I was a rag
    doll. In adolescence, my body was too tense to relax for a hug.
    Later, after the loss of virginity—which was anything but a
    loss—the extreme proximity of the other person, the smell of
    hair, the warmth of the skin, the sound of breathing in the
    dark—these were mysterious and delectable. This hug had
    two primary components: the anticipation of sex and the plea-
    sure of intimacy, which itself is a combination of trust and
    affection. It was this latter combination that came to character-
    ize the hugging I have experienced only in recent years, a hug-
    ging that knows no distinctions of gender or age. When this
    kind of hug is mutual, for a moment the world is perfect the
    way it is, and the tears we shed for it are perfect too. I guess it
    is an embrace.

    “Hug” by Ron Padgett

  2. A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
    Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
    And also the partridge in a pear tree
    And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
    In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
    Where the faithful live, some joyful, some
    Enduring the cold and also the flu,
    Taking the garbage out and keeping the
    sidewalk shoveled.
    Not much triumph going on here—and yet
    There is much we do not understand.
    And my hopes and fears are met
    In this small singer holding onto my hand.
    Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
    And are there angels hovering overhead?

    “For Maia” by Gary Johnson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s