Okay, I’ll sit in this chair and hold you while you nuzzle my neck and suck your thumb.
Even though it’s 5:30 in the afternoon and I really should do the breakfast dishes before I start making dinner.
Even though I just made you the greatest fort beneath the kitchen table.
Okay, I’ll sit here and hold you until you’re awake enough to venture forth into the unknown kingdom under table.
If you do climb off my lap to go inside the fort, I will: do the dishes, make dinner, mop the floor, organize all your toys and clothes, paint your dresser, read a book, play solitaire on the computer, call my mother, transfer all my phone numbers into my new phone book I got two Christmases ago, complete all photo albums with captions, take a shower and feel guilty that I’m not with you in the fort.
If you don’t go inside, I’ll sit here and hold you.
I should be able to stay here in this chair without everything I haven’t done screaming in my head.
I should be able to love this.
Someday, I’ll be in this chair alone.
When my arms are no longer your comfort, I can: do the breakfast dishes, make dinner, convert your bedroom into a gym, read all my books, call all my friends listed in my old phone book while I’m clean and ironed and made-up and glancing through my perfectly organized photo albums.
Knowing that I only get to hold you for a brief moment doesn’t make it any easier to stay here. I am all to aware that chaos reigns in my own fort, in fact, in my entire kingdom.
Dear God, help me never choose to let go of this precious little body
so that I might hold a dirty dish.
Oh, your little hand, stroking my cheek.
Please stop smiling at me.
When you smile…my choice is made.
Here is where I am.
Here is where I stay.
I wrote this 11 years ago. I tried to build my 13 year old daughter a fort today and she wouldn’t go in! I guess I should have let her off my lap…Really don’t know how or when she got so tall. She is still precious, even at 13. I did let go of her 11 years ago to do the dishes and I still regret it. On the plus side, I have taught her how to do the dishes, so I can now sit-even though, it’s almost always alone, and everything I haven’t done is still there to taunt me.