By Sheryl Paul
In my four year old’s feverish state
We slip between the worlds together.
I, the island, and he the little boat who
anchors himself to my shores,
his small hot limbs wrapped around me as
if I am his tree of life.
Which I am,
and he mine,
and together we swim through the currents,
sometimes close, sometimes holding the space that
rises up to meet each stage of independence.
But tonight I will not let him go.
He reaches for me in sleep,
the fever stirring delirious words from
his lips and quaking his limbs.
I soothe every one.
I hold him and whisper,
I love you.”
He won’t remember any of it in the morning.
Motherhood is not a love letter
reciprocated by an ardent lover.
There will be no thank-you cards or gifts left
on the breakfast table.
No, the satisfaction runs much deeper than that.
It’s in knowing that
as he navigates those narrow places that
he never traveled alone.
I am here as I have always been here as I will always be here,
walking the invisible lines with him
until he can walk them on his own.
Tonight is not for sleep.
It’s for pressing my cool cheek against his hot forehead,
my breath a gentle wind across the desert of his skin,
my shoulder his pillow,
my body his tree,
my heart radiating a map of comfort that
he will remember
for the rest of his life.
Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide via her private practice, her e-courses and programs, her books, and her website, http://conscious-transitions.com. She has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, as well as on “Good Morning America” and other top television, radio, and newspapers around the globe. Her home study course for pregnant women and new mothers, Birthing a New Mother: A Roadmap from Preconception Through the First Year to Calm Your Anxiety, Prepare Your Marriage, and Become the Mother you Want to Be, can be found at http://birthinganewmother.com. She lives in Boulder, Colorado where she and her husband homeschool their two sons.