“For Andrew & Alex with an abundance of LOVE”
“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.” —The Dalai Lama
When we arrive home from the hospital after delivering our first baby, I’m filled with anxiety. It must have shown on my face, sort of like that kid from the film, Home Alone. You know, the one who rubs aftershave on his cheeks, because my husband says,
“Kim, what’s wrong with you?”
I point to our baby, Andrew, who is curled up sleepily inside his crib and sigh loudly,
“Well, what are we supposed to do with him?”
We both begin to laugh.
I’m frightened, doubtful, and not ready to take care of a baby. I mean, this is a human being with a beating heart, tiny finger nails, and a soul for god’s sake. And he’s ours.
I think, how can they just send random people home with babies. That’s absurd.
Let’s just say, we learn quickly to change poopy diapers, walk the floors at all hours of the night, sleep with one eye open, and keep one boob exposed at all times.
When Andrew begins to walk, I position pillows throughout the house, so he can fall on something soft, secure.
“We need to buy more pillows,” I inform my husband. “We don’t have enough for the entire house.”
“He’s going to fall, he’s going to bump his head, he’s going to get boo-boos,” He says.
“That’s what babies do.”
Naturally, my husband is right. Andrew falls more times than he walks; and of course, never on the fluffy pillows I strategically place around the house.
If someone has a cough or even a slight chill, I wont let them near my baby.
“Please don’t breathe on him.” I raise up my hand like a stop sign. “Could you stand 5 feet back, yes, 5 feet back? Thank you.”
::::::R O A R::::
This “overprotectiveness & obsessiveness” alters after my second baby is born.
For example, I recall a ( know-it-all) mother at MacDonald’s walking up to me- whispering ever-so-sweetly, annoyingly, self-righteously, “Madam, did you know your child is eating french fries off the floor?”
I look at her with a slender grin, “Well, Madam, he’s eaten much worse than that.”
Seriously, the kid’s consumed toilet paper, pennies, super-balls, cat food, and he’s still running around like a lunatic.
Things change. Anxiety fades. The earth revolves.
Or…at least that’s what I imagined.
Add 20-plus years to the equation.
Andrew calls me into the living room.
“Mom, I have something to tell you.”
My heart quickens. “Whaaat? Is everything okay? Are you going to tell me something good? Did something happen? Are you, I mean….”
“Yes,” he interrupts, “Everything’s okay.”
“I got a job.”
“Where?” I ask, excitedly, hopefully.
I hesitate. Too long. My life flashing in pictures before me.
I run to hug, kiss, and congratulate him.
It’s all a lie.
He goes on the tell me that his younger brother, Alex, who can’t even make his own toast, is going with him.
I want to cry, scream. I want them back inside my womb, so I know where they are All. Day. Long—All. Night. Long.
I want to buy a million feathery pillows to scatter around their new crossings, their roads not taken, their future experiences.
I want. I want to…
Cushion them. Shield them from tragedy, failure, horrible people, terrorists, bombs, gun-violence, & breakups.
Lesson their falls.
But I know I can’t stop them from growing wings and flying away.
Intellectually, I know this. I damn well know this. I do.
Still, every now and then, I want to hold on and never let go.
—-Dear, Reader, is it hard for you to let go of the things you love?