I know him better now than when he was inside me, an unfathomable clump of cells growing eyes and limbs, the boy now 5, months more than 5, as he keeps reminding me. But still, some part of him always unknowable, the way he thinks and sometimes why he laughs and the way he tells me of “the dreams he can feel in his head,” the ones nothing like my own. And soon he will be too big to carry in my arms the way I do now at least once a week, his head on my shoulder, us leaning into one another. And I will begin to know him less then, when he no longer lets me hold him, his small face near my own, his soft dark hair, his soft dark eyes.
I tell a friend that it is the boy that gets me through the bad months one year, that April, the one with the days full of other people’s silences, that quiet that hurt more than I could ever explain. I tell a friend I get through it because there is someone who counts on me for everything, and I can’t bear to let him down. It isn’t hope that gets me through. Not some kind of rugged optimism or belief in hard work. Just a child and his faith in me. Just a child and his needs.
This morning, I carry him through the daycare that way, head on my shoulder, us leaning together, because he is not ready to let me go, unhappy that I am going to work and leaving him, for a few hours, behind. I promise him that this means that when I come to pick him up, I will be done with work. That I can just play. That unlike other Mondays in our home where we occupy two separate floors, me upstairs with the computer, him downstairs with the toys, that this day we can sit in a space together. Play a game. Color some pictures. Read some stories, him leaning against my arm as I flip the pages. Him, letting me hold him.
Him, letting me know him, while I still can.