Maddie doesn’t fit onto my lap anymore. It happened suddenly… one day I could lift her, and contain her limbs, and the next I could not. Now she tries and her legs hang awkwardly, her arms akimbo…she squirms, but can’t get comfortable. I have to physically restrain myself from grunting at the sheer weight of her on top of me. At times, I feel pain. At times, I feel smothered.
And yet I can sense that her need to feel held is even stronger now than it was when she fit within my arms with ease.
I remember how it felt to outgrow my own Mother’s lap… to suddenly become aware of how her bones shifted beneath my weight. I remember how desperately I needed that connection, especially when everything around me was new and different.
Now I watch her as she stretches and flexes and grows away from me, our bond still strong but more elastic somehow. She leaves and she sees and she plays and she learns, all completely separate from me. When she comes back, she looks for the security of me… looks for the safety of my lap, her home. I need to remind myself to be present, to feel not annoyed, to lie with her and hold her tightly against my heart, to listen to what she’s trying to say when she can’t find the words.
I want her to always think of me as her home. Someday when she is grown, and the strength of her body surpasses that of my own, I want my arms to be her home. I want her to know that no matter what happens outside my embrace, she is safe and cared for and held.
Once she’s grown, maybe with babies of her own, I want my voice to be her home. I want to be the person she calls first, the person who she knows will listen completely.
Someday, when I’m no longer living, I want her memory of me to be her home… my lap, my arms, my hands, my heart, my voice, my presence… something that she can call upon to feel safe, and held, and loved.