The Father of My Children

You, pressed up against my back, we’re spoons.

You breathe in and out, and it’s easier to focus on your breath than my own. I use it to go into the gap.

Napping in the afternoon on a Saturday.

You worked at 6AM and will be lost to us this evening if you don’t rest now.

This morning at 5:00, I came into the bathroom where you shaved, anxiety pressing down on my chest.

Doubts about my own goodness. That’s what it boiled down to. I spin, too empathetic, too worried. I can’t help everyone, can’t do it perfectly, can’t fix it all. I haven’t slept.

Shaving cream still in bits on your face, you take me in your arms and whisper “You are good.” You kiss the top of my head and say no one will ever be more loved than me.

I feel guilt and comfort and relief.

I never meant to need you this way.

After you leave. I do the work.  I write and write until I remember it’s not my job to fix a hurting world. I write until I remember to trust the wisdom of other souls.

When you get home, we put the kids in front of the TV and go into the bedroom. You need a nap. One hand holds my book, the other absent-mindedly strokes your arm as you fall asleep. Our window-unit blows cold air full blast. Finishing my chapter I close the book and snuggle into you.

It’s here I dive into your breath. Right now, I am here in your arms. Our children are downstairs, healthy.

A recent family conversation surfaces in my mind.

Riley asked, “How old was I when I lost my autism? Ten? Eleven?”

We were both taken aback and thrilled and charmed, though we played cool as cucumbers. She no longer identifies herself as on the spectrum. Imagine that?

In the next turn of conversation, Seth shared that when he sees someone hurting, he feels it physically in his body.

Me too, baby. We’re the same.

You’re breathing, and I look at our freshly painted bedroom walls and remember when I slept in a basement. There was pink insulation for walls and I nailed sheets to the two-by-four beams for privacy. The floor was cold concrete.

I close my eyes and focus on your breath, disappearing into it.

Believing in you, believing in us, believing I truly have everything.

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5 Responses to The Father of My Children

  1. amber says:

    This is beautiful. And familiar.
    You and I are also the same. 🙂


  2. naomi says:

    Beautiful , Michelle.
    Happy FD, HT 🙂

  3. Nina says:

    What a beautiful tribute!

  4. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Michelle, to be at peace with oneself, knowing the joy of being cherished, that must be a gift from the Universe. Peace.

  5. Carrie Link says:

    You certainly do. Everything and more.

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