Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Hundred Goodbyes


I don't want to forget the large folds of skin on the back of your head.

I don't want to forget the way you contently caress my skin as you nurse.

I don't want to forget how, when I place you against my shoulder, your mouth opens and your head bobs spastically back and forth, like a newly hatched baby bird.

I don't want to forget the way your tongue reflexively flutters as you snooze.

How your whole tiny body heaves up and down when you sigh in your sleep.

The softness of your newborn hair.

The length of your eyelashes, straight and delicate, against your sweet olive skin.

The way you wrinkle your brow as your beady little eyes gaze with intense focus on an object of interest.

The shrillness of your cry, not fully broken-in.

How your pulse dances wildly in the soft spot at the crown of your head.

Right now I know you as a newborn. And I know everything about you. Our lives are completely synched and utterly interdependent. But everything I know about you will eventually fade away. I will begin to know new things about you, things that are not yet true, until all that I know about you in this moment is forgotten. It's happened twice before. And as much as I swear that I will not forget this time, I know I can't stop the forgetting. The forgetting is as inevitable as the passage of time.

Dear sweet little baby of mine. How I wish I could always remember. How I wish I could bookmark this moment and return to it at any whim, to gaze at your newborn face and to smooth your newborn fingers. God willing, I will have you to love for a long, long time. But you will never again be as you are today. So small. So tender. So synched with me.

Before you are grown and set off on your own, you will leave me over a hundred times. You will leave me slowly, day by day. As you grow and change, I will constantly be saying goodbye to the boy that I had loved. My only comfort is in knowing that each goodbye also brings a hello and that, as you change, I get the gift of getting to know you all over again.

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