I am familiar with the feeling of holding a child in my arms.
A baby tucked away in the crook of my neck feels like home in the summer.
A child’s laughter makes the usually unused corners of my mouth, stretch and warm because it sounds like music.
The first time my baby sister said no to a hug, I cried.
Not because I was not loved anymore but like summer rolling into winter, before my eyes, for the first time... I did not understand the rain.
This new unchartered thing had me twisting puzzle pieces right and left, this way and that.
To figure out a new way to map out the words ‘I love you’.
When more babies came and grew, in and out of my arms like the fizz in their birthday cups, jumping and popping out onto the table.
Only then did I understand the lightness on my hip was weighing down my soul with an anchor hanging off my ribcage.
Only then did I understand that the world needed rain to survive.
Only then did I slowly retract my long, outstretched plea for a love that no-longer-needed me.
And when the angels finally cried for her and when winter crept up again, I was ready.
Standing tall under my umbrella, cold hands and colder soul, protecting myself from the inevitable, distancing myself from the only home I ever remember having.
It’s okay to cry they said, it’s okay to feel this way. But surely nothing about this emptiness is okay.
Isn’t it ironic, that behind every story before bed and every kiss after the fall, when I loved her with every beat that my heart promised me, I would rest her in my arms and stroke her soft face and hope she would never feel the way I do.
I will never be ready