Written by Emily
Today my sweet girl got tubes in her ears. We’ve been through this before with Noey. I know it’s minor surgery. I was fine.
She was fine.
I gave her the syringe of syrupy sweet forgetful serum and watched it fill her up until her eyelids were heavy.
She was adorable.
I kissed her little red head as she swayed.
And then they wheeled her away from me.
I watched her little metal crib until it was out of sight. The doctor’s words ringing in my ears: “I’ll bring her back to you in no time.”
I had to trust him.
I had to let the nurse with the gravely voice and deep wrinkles tickle her toes because I couldn’t. I had to believe that the anesthesiologist who called her “Sylvia” would do what she had practiced again and again. I had to wait while the man in sea foam scrubs who spoke French in my babe’s ear did what was now like breathing for him: natural, rote, easy.
I let go. I had to.
The doctor delivered on his promise.
When she came back to me, I wanted to hold her in my arms and smell her hair and study the bridge of her nose and the length of her lashes. I wanted to rest and memorize the weight of her tiny body against my chest. She let me…for a minute. And then she wiggled away.
It’s the way it has to be. All of it.
From the moment I knew my little ones were there, from the moment they awakened a love that was inside me all along hibernating, laying dormant, waiting for each of them to call for it. From that moment on, I hold onto them with every fiber of myself while I practice letting go, while I strengthen my heart against the pain or the uncertainty or the fear of letting go.
I try to remember the feel of their fingers wrapped around mine.
I chase them with arms at the ready to catch their teetering bodies.
I “look, Mommy. Look!”
Going to school.
I can see their bodies outlined by the door frame like a picture of good-bye.
Falling into the arms of a different kind of love.
And on and on and on…
Until my heart is a bit calloused like musicians’ fingertips, hardened by hours of practice loosening my grip instead of tightening it. Until against all odds, I have the strength to smile as they go…
and mean it.