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Moments: Exhibit A

Cal, sitting on the floor, cross-legged with Clay as a toddler sitting in front of them, holding a little plastic pinwheel up. Cal is gently blowing the pinwheel so it spins.
Gentle. Gentle. Gentle.

A morning like so many others. Uneventful. Lunch-making and listening. The stagnant grey of mid-January in northern Virginia calling every cell in my body to stay in, ignore the musts, attend to the wants, go in, stay in.

Clay sat, half-eating, but mostly talking with characteristic 11-year-old fervor and authority, about video games and other things for which my brain had little context, but about which my heart knew to express interest and excitement, inserting small sounds of surprise and “So, wait. Then what happens?” before wandering back to habitual worries and doing.

I felt my mouth distractedly venture, “Love. Did you take your meds?”


In the space left by no answer, I felt myself being pulled under by overthinking and vague dread. Then we’re face to face. Connected. My hand is on his knee. We are suddenly deep inside one of those conversations that makes me want to shout and shake him and demand, “Because I said so and I know more things….about EVERYthing!”

I have no idea why, but I didn’t shout. I rested my hand on his leg with a deep tenderness. I held it together. I sat still. I listened. I just. Kept. Making. Space.

Days passed. Windy, storm-whipped, debris flew everywhere.

Then? Relief. Understanding. Collaboration. Let’s try this. Together.

I hugged him. Tight. Checked the clock.

Let’s go, Love. Brush and hustle. We’re gonna be late.

We pull up to school. Fist bump. You got this, bub.

I drive without breathing. Parallel park.

Release and enormity wash over me, running down my face, in ebbing and flowing waves.

I did it right. I went slow. I loved him and saw him.

Now. If I can only do it that way for another 45 years.


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