Today Casey fell asleep on my back.
I was making cookies and I wanted him to see so I put him in the ergo on my back. He started crying his tired cry so I walked around in circles rolling balls of dough between my palms and setting them, in neat rows of three, on the cookie sheet. I hum as I walk and he starts humming too. Then there is silence. Heavy, his weight tugs on my lower back and I walk slightly hunched over so I do not to disturb him. I walk and read while the cookies bake and take them out when they are done. The hot breath of the oven warms my face as I remove first one sheet pan and then the other.
Now, I am unsure what to do. I stand looking out my front window watching the snow blow, fine and fierce, across our yard. My hips rock slowly from one side to the other. A living rocking chair for my son.
He has recently discovered our rocking chair. He likes to sit in it, like a big boy, as I rock it backwards and forwards, again and again. Now I have become the rocker and I don’t know how long I will be retained in this position. I fear putting him down. I fear waking him and interrupting his sleep for the second time today. So, I stand here and watch the snow outside, trying to think of eloquent ways to describe the way it falls.
I get the laundry from the porch and fold it, standing, straight out of the dryer. All the while I am rocking, rocking. A comforting rythym, womblike. Reminding me of walking to and from work, carrying his weight in my belly; walking, walking. Reminding me of a life before.
My pants are falling down but there is nothing I can do about it.
When the cookies are ready, I remove them one by one to a cooling rack. I bite into one and it is sweet on my tongue. They are healthy cookies, no egg, no butter, not because I wanted them to be but because we have no eggs, no butter.
The mail’s here. I can see it is nothing but bills. My book still has not arrived. I leave the envelopes where they fell through the mail slot and wander back towards the kitchen. A deep sigh from my back and then the steady silent breath resumes. I am locked into this position but it is a position I have chosen. I would not like to be in any other.
A healing balm,
Gratitude for the peace
of a sleeping child.
A hot tiny hand emerges from my side as if I have sprouted a new limb. Tiny fingers find my arm and rest there lightly. A reminder that I am always there, close at hand.
The weight of him on my back releases the weight of the day from my shoulders.
Unintentionally, I stop for a moment. Stop walking, stop rocking. A cry arises, protesting from behind. So I continue. I continue walking and rocking. I stare. I think. I try to quiet my inner voice by talking to it but now there are two voices so I let them both go.