the best days and the worst in the span of mere hours. From 6am when your 4-year-old son wakes up—not counting your 4-month-old daughter’s nighttime wakings—to 2pm when you manage to get him down for a nap and sit down to nurse the baby, you will feel days have come and gone. Amazing days and horrific ones. Days when your face hurts from too much laughter and ones when your chest aches from fear and ones where your nails dig into your palms from anger. All these days in one November Sunday.
You will try to hold on tight to the good ones, letting all others go. Hold on to watching The Little Mermaid on the folded-out futon and then playing mermaids with your son while your daughter squeals in her bouncer. Let go of the moment he pretends to be Ursula and whacks you hard with his magician’s wand, right in the breast, screaming when you take the wand away. But you hold on to your calm explanation of how much this hurt and to the hug and kiss your son gives your sore breast after.
You hold on to making breakfast sandwiches together. To his rare ability to help without letting the desire to spill or touch or crack an egg all by himself get in the way. You take turns biting your sandwich halves, laughing about the chunks of bacon and egg he grabs with his teeth, squishing them out of the mayoed pieces of wheat bread.
You hold on listening, from the open door of the bathroom, to him sing while your daughter cries in the rocker refusing sleep, as he makes up words and melody, “Don’t cry Remy Rem, I’m your big brother, don’t cry don’t cry, I will play with you so don’t cry…”
Hold on to the cold hour on the playground where he says, “Hi, what’s your name,” to every passerby and climbs everything and hides in the leaves until you tickle-find him. Hold on to the scooter ride to the coffee shop as you push his sleeping sister in the stroller and he stops at every street waiting for you to say it’s ok to cross. Hold on to the hot chocolate he mixes into your latte to make it a mocha. Hold on to your friend, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, showing him how to make a pour over and holding your daughter when she wakes and telling you that she recommended your blog to a pregnant friend, which reminds and inspires you to write this, after months of not finding the time.
But you try to let go, to forget, the instant that lasted seconds and days, when time expanded and collapsed, when you were just blocks away from your house, and he did not stop before crossing the street and rode, confidently, with his, “I’m not afraid of anything” mantra, into the street. Crossing to the other side as you yelled and rushed behind him with the stroller. And you didn’t know if you should yell or cry. And there were no cars in sight, and he knew it, saying, “But there were no cars,” and still, it doesn’t matter because he didn’t listen. Because he kept going. Because there could have been cars. Because your chest turns into a clenched fist just thinking back to this. And you made him walk holding hands, crying and yelling “I don’t want to hold hands” the final blocks home. And you will try, try to let go of his spitting and hitting and pinching you in frustration, let go of all the emotions he cannot control yet and control your own. You will be grateful that your daughter slept through this. Be grateful that you got home safe.
You will hold on to everything that came before and the apology and snuggles after. Hold on to reading Julian is a Mermaid and return to your morning of imagination and magical make belief. Hold on to the nap he took so you could write this.
Hold on to all the good days that came within hours and let go the bad ones. Hold on and let go so you can do it all over again when he wakes up, and tomorrow, and all the minute-days that follow. Because no matter how long this morning felt, your children’s childhood is flying, unstoppable and unfathomable—ungraspable as your son’s will to run and his will hug, to hold you and at once to let you go. So you try to do the same, to hold on as fiercely as you let go.