“to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
– mary oliver
so many moments with you make me want to live forever. we must. we cannot. so many of these moments have to mean forever.
i am swimming in love and terror. there is a storm in this house. and it is the calm. you are the home i go to, and i am yours. you are the freedom i will never have to chase. before motherhood came along and swept me off my feet, into the great beyond, into myself, i was not afraid of leaving. endings were built into beginnings. now, i want to live inside every moment. i want to wrap it around us, horde the layers, keep time at bay, breathe you in as air. it seems that the further we go, the more years we circle through, the more we become acquainted with loss. the more we let go of ourselves, and mingle with love, the more we are laced into this world.
at seventeen, a senior in high school, i found out i had a brain tumor. i was so different then. wild and passionate and full of dreams that kept my soul outside of my body. i’m not sure i believed i would die before someone told me i could. a quiet fell over me, my vulnerability was plain, i began to doubt the lightness i wanted to believe. but life happened, and i was lucky to have mine. then i had you both, and my body warned me again. that there was something in me i could not control. it betrayed me, it punished me, it scarred me, but it gave me you. this time it was different. the lightness was replaced with fear, warning, worry. but the fear transformed to hope. that hope is necessary, it is friends with joy and trying and this special brand of love you teach me. the love and terror peel our eyes open.
memory is a pool, fluid and moving and every cell wet with the other. we dip in our toes and we melt into it. every picture is a chance to dive in. what each one does is give me a moment from which to start. your childhood is a mirror to my own. i am constantly remembering what i hope you will remember. i feel the weight of retrospect. there is grace in that symmetry. there is forgiveness. there is new light. i swear i could hold on to these images, tight in my fingers, pressed against my skin so hard they leave a mark. but they are elusive, always here, gone forever. they are the smell of summer long washed off our baby skin, forever locked away in our heads. they are the soundtrack that will stir something loose every time we listen.
i never want to leave you. for all the vastness i feel being your mama, i feel too small to contain it sometimes. these pictures are our immortality. when all of this ends, and it will someday, no matter how big our love, we will throw out these lines to forever. we are living and loving and making proof. your lives have awakened my own.