Calm is little arms around my neck,
little hands curled into sleepy fists.
She is still while she listens
to my heartbeat with one ear
and my breathing with the other.
Calm is a few minutes of early-morning quiet,
before the coffee is made or the dog is fed -
before anything else but this.
Calm is the warmth of her
when it's just she and I in the silent night
and the way we breathe together.
I think she had to be here now,
that she could not have been my baby
four years ago or five years in the future.
She had to be who she is right this second
so that I will get out of bed each day,
if only so I can hear her breathe.
Calm is the way I feel when she is
all I think about. For a few minutes there isn't
a hole in the world where my dad should be.
I don't worry about money or want to go to bed
for a year. Instead, her arms are tight around me.
My daughter and I breathe together.
She may hold her arms out to me for help now,
but what I am doing is just the same.
When I sweep her up to watch her smile,
it's the way drowning men grab the hands of
rescuers and collapse with relief onto dry land. The way
they hold on to the sand and keep breathing.
The calm is in her terrible sticky kisses and
the way her hands are always damp. It's in
her halting steps and her big cheesy grin that
shows off all eight teeth. Most of all,
the calm is in those early-morning seconds
where we just sit and breathe together.
Calm is the way her eyelids flutter as she fights
to stay awake against the lull of my heart, the
first sound she knew. She always knew my breathing, too.
We have always known each other. I was once
the length of the world to her.
I knew her hiccups before she ever breathed.
The calm is in the way we sit and the weight of her
is more and yet somehow the same as
when I carried her. Calm is how we sit,
silent. I am calm and I don't think about
anything at all, except
the way we breathe together.
Today's post is my tenth while participating in the #Wholemama linkup. This week's theme was "calm". You can find the link to this week's linkup and post over at Erika Shirk's blog Overflow - this week the "guest post" to start things off is by Gayl Wright, who I met through #wholemama only to find out she lives very close by here in South Carolina! .My other posts as part of the linkup or just inspired by the theme are A Hard Leap Off a High Cliff, Motherhood on Purpose, On Reading and Peace, I Lay You Down to Sleep, My Love, When It Rains... Celebrate, Parenting is Silly, Anything But Ordinary, Space, Prayer, and A Supermom is a Sleep-Deprived Mom.