Holding tight

May 13, 2010

Last night we watched Matthew strike out five batters in a row.  Five.  I had butterflies in my stomach that last inning.  The score was 7 to 6, top of the sixth.  Our team was ahead.  You sat on the top of the recycle bins with Max beside. I held you from behind. Max fed you bits of soft pretzel in cheese sauce.

I couldn’t move; I couldn’t breathe.

One player struck out.  Then the next.  The next batter.  One strike.  Then two.  I stood there, frozen in place, wanting to make it happen — that last strike.

But I couldn’t make it happen — I wasn’t holding the ball.  I wasn’t holding the bat.  I wasn’t holding anything but you, Sam, keeping you steady up on top of that recycle bin.  It won’t be long until I’m not holding you at all, until bedtime is just a simple goodnight, and barely a kiss. Until report cards come home, but I’ve long lost track of your subjects at school.  Until you’re riding off on your bicycle with your friends, calling me at dinner time to see if you have to come home.

I want to slow down time.  Already I miss your crawl, your baby babble. Already I miss the entire last year — where did it go?

I held you tight for that moment.  Matthew held the ball.  He pulled his arm back. He pitched the ball.  Strike 3.  I took a breath.


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