So I lay there, and held him close and smelled him and kissed him and ran the pad of my thumb over every crease of each digit of each finger that lay so small and limp asleep in my palm. I considered him as long as I could.
The sharp juts of unexpected six-year old elbow contrasting to the softness of the formerly infant flesh. That squishy delicious shoulder against the crook of my arm is a remnant of his baby body, it's the ghost of what I know in my bones of his lifetime. That it is deepdown good. The way his cheek has always had this plump kissability, buoyant as shamrock-green love against my lips.
That his giggle has lit up my heart in every movie night.
That his mischief has bounced me from sleep as many times as I've coaxed him back to it
and will many more. I considered every detail, every memory I could muster until...
I took a deep breath and I left.
I know you have to let them go into the world. They have to struggle through their own strife and they have to fall and get up again and again. They fall. But they shouldn't die.
We, their mothers, we need them too much. And in the simplest of terms. We just need them to exist. Exist hungry and angry, struggling, bruised, snuggled in asleep and fresh from a bath, or greasy and smelling of the earthen sweat of children. We don't care. We need them to exist as simply as we breathe. We need them to exist in impossible circumstances.
I'm sick for this family and especially his mother.
The kid who was driving the car? He was just 19. 19. The 19 year old's mother needs him to exist too. And how can he exist now? He has to be hollowed out, not at all the greasy living sweating being he was the day before all this.
All us mothers can do is imagine these boys, how impossibly broken they are. And how immeasurably grateful we are for our own, laying in whatever state they are tonight.
The many more creases of knuckles to come
and how the pad of my thumb has traced every one