Spring of 2011.
Warm. Her small hand just so in mine.
She’s hot. Books askew on her lap. Pieces and parts of miniature dollies here and there across the back seat and floorboards. Her feet dangle in that telltale position of deep sleep induced by the hum of the car over the roadway. Red cheeked, with the innocent pout of her perfect toddler lips. Occasionally a rustle if the chosen driving tune stirs her little sleeping mind, or around a curve taken too swiftly.
A warmth swells from a deeper part of myself. There is joy in the realization, as I drive with my right shoulder twisted back past it’s usual capacity to cherish this sweetness, that I am left in a heart opening pose, vulnerable and courageous. Her small hand tightens around my fingers, as if in recognition of the insight unfolding in my heart. It hurts to let go as I remove my hand and turn into our neighborhood.
Then, the shuffle of bags, toys, and other accoutrements. Daddy comes out to help, and I wearily open her door, undo her buckles, and lift this weighty rag doll into my arms. Her sweaty head nestles until it fits, just so, into the dish formed by my throat, clavicle, and shoulder. My hand over her back feeling her breaths rise and fall. I am compelled to kiss her, sometimes 4 or even 5 times. The night is crisp and dark, and there is a light frost. The stars are infinite tonight, and I know love.