the most important things begin to drown in car keys, keyboard keys, deadline, chore, planning, magazine, groom, eat, an impenetrable seizure of living; my life is my movement forward, toward. no! no without the body there is an aching void. voids fill quickly with refuse disguised as gold: the gold is the body, my baby's body, my children's limbs and cheeks and hair and awkward feet and toes. the smell of their ears.
every day must make room for touching. every day must make room for holding.
in the primate world, to leave a baby alone, it's tiny vulnerable body splayed on the ground, is for the dead.
our babies and children are meant to be pressed against us. we are meant to be pressed against them. this is the work of the living, to press our bodies into one another. this is the work of the living, to cleave.
Ever Elizabeth: in the hospital bed; a high rise crib surrounded by snaking tubes, wires, all springing from our tiny one month old baby as if she were an alien pod, providing priceless energy. she lay there, unnaturally still. i tested the siderail. waited for the nurse to leave. mr. curry watched. i found how to climb up up and in and curl next to our baby. a dance of careful, miniature movements: do not clip the wires. do not yank the wires. do not. my legs bent. my arms bent. the moment she first turned her head and rooted to nurse, weakly, i could not stop the tears. the nurses appeared, flushed, surprised, laughed. they let me. they let me, every night, and during the day, climb up up the crib castle and lay pressed into my baby, until she was removed from the wires and the tubes and we could take her home. laying next to her was the most healing and comforting thing that i did the entire hospital stay. letting me do so was the most human thing the staff did. i believe she healed more deeply- in her fearful little self- because i was next to her. i believe i healed more deeply.
with nighttime comes the deepest intimacy. human beings / nighttime / survival
this is our DNA. darkness is a precursor of intensity. to take the leaders of the tribe- strong, loving, protective- and pair them with the weakest - small, vulnerable, unsure- yes. i will hear the small snuffle noises. i will feel her rabbit baby breath on my neck. i will hear her whimper though a bad dream and feel the small smooth pebble of her heel press into my stomach- once, twice- until she is stilled, and at peace, having found me. i will wake with her pudges of finger ribboned through my hair. the heat of urine. the flexing of her hand against my breast as she nurses. the tiny chuckles like rain that wake me from my sleep in the early morning. the enormous eyes that find mine as the light breaks the windowpane and I can barely stand to meet her gaze for the love is so consuming and this life so short.
years from now i will reap the benefits.
i know this because we also have sons, and the one of seventeen- tonite i lay in bed with him, late, after all the other children were asleep, and we talked in the dark of his room. he turned his back to me and lay his leg over my leg. he told me secrets. talked about his dreams, his best friend. i lay my hand on his head, scratched lazily. i love you so much, mom, he said. i love you so much, son, i replied.
years from now, he will reap the benefits.
from the beginning of his life, he was held in human touch. his brain awoke to the world while his body was being cherished and protected and held by those who loved him most. in this way he learned, and she is learning, that bodies are portals to emotion. that love is action. that love is comfort. that love is safe and safety. that love is all things human- the embarrassing- gas, snores- and the adorable- giggles, hugs- and the mundane and human- open mouthed sleeps. That although the dark can be all consuming and our minds and hearts can go dark alongside the night, the body of one who loves us can be a shield against everything we are afraid of. we can find peace, and comfort, and shelter in one another.
no matter what the day has held ( the raging boss, the angry teacher, a failure, humiliation, insecurity, tears ) nighttime is a sanctuary for rejuvenation of the heart and body.
one day, when he falls in love, he will know how to find the soul in the touch, and how to treat the body of those we love. and when he holds his children,
they will reap.