The lovers in movies kiss in shades of intimate sunset. Wind and light and time stand still for them. Their moments are filled with space to breathe and exhale and savor. They hold hands. They look long and deep into the insides of each other’s eyes to interpret what lingers there. They read each other like braille because they have the time to do so. They never cut to the chase.
These people must not have children.
They operate outside the constant state of rush that characterizes even the most mundane moments of a parent’s existence. Should trying to go to the bathroom alone really be this exhausting? When the color of the bowl that holds the mac and cheese becomes a potential battle ground, how can there even be the hope for meaningful conversation over dinner? A day’s worth of thoughts and emotions are lost by the time bath time has been survived and bed time dragged out for hours of “go back to bed” and “I just need one more drink of water.”
Parents as people seem to exist only in the fringe hours of the day. And those hours are frayed around the edges.
I remember a Fourth of July when we napped, lingered, ate, and strolled down to the mall maddeningly late in the eyes of those who had been camped out since early afternoon. We did not plan ahead. We were too busy just being together. How your hand felt around mine seemed like the most important part of the evening. The fireworks, they were nice. But you, you were what the night was about.
I leaned into you and watched the heavens explode and knew it would always be us. I never could have imagined that there would be a night when making sure we’d packed the red pacifier would be more important than the grip on your hand.
I need to find your fingers. I need to relearn the outline of your hand over mine. I need to breathe. Where do parents go to do that? Beyond the confines of the midnight hour?