He’s almost too big for this, to be carried, but he wants to dance. And so I swing him around my father’s living room in time with the Christmas music, his head on my shoulder, the weight of him supported by my arms, my hands. As long as I can, I’ll always say yes to this.
He’s got particular ideas about music and won’t listen to most of it. He’s only learned the words to one pop song; makes me play it one summer on repeat. It’s Celine Dion. He likes too Doomtree, bobs his head and feet in the car to “Final Boss,” asks me to turn it up. He prefers Prince, but only when he doesn’t use much falsetto. Nearly everything else gets a pass. Except for Christmas music. Except for something we can waltz to, when I count out 1-2-3, 1-2-3 as we twirl, my steps in time.
There are three men I have danced with in living rooms, two in near dark and one in bright day, but only this small boy leaves my heart lighter than he found it, brighter than that last one with all his edges and ache. Only the small boy knows how to be here with me now, instead of always on the look out for that something more. Only the small boy, when I hold him to me, his head on my shoulder, us leaning into the music and laughing, leaves my heart better.
And so I will hold him, even when the arms begin to ache, dance him around this living room, dance him around any living room, until those last notes fade.