"when danger and love hold hands"


“Mommy, what’s that word say?” you ask. I’m running, pushing
your stroller up yet another hill and you point at a sign, demand

to know what the letters represent. Every time you ask, even as my
breathing is shallow and my words are crisp, my eyes light up. I’m trying

to teach you how letters go together and become sounds that become 

words, and that your words and your story matters. “Mommy! Listen!”

I’m looking at my computer screen as emails demand attention
and someone else’s problem becomes my own and I forget

that you are saying something important- even if it is three-year-old
important- and I think about how every glance back to the screen

tells you that your story is less than my own. “Mommy, Mommy, look at this!”
On the outstretched palm of your hand, an ant studies the valleys and broken

lines of your skin, like a fortune teller mapping a life. “That will bite you,”
I want to say but, instead, I remain in awe and watch as you trust

and discover and inspire me to see the world as more than just
the monsters that we are reminded to look for in every forest.


“Mommy, watch this,” you say.  “Mommy, you’re not looking,”
but I’m looking, I’m watching, amazed by this life that started

as a seed inside me, a seed I wasn’t sure I wanted but realized 

after ten hours in labor, when they placed your tiny body 


on mine, that our lives were meant to inosculate, and like the roots

of two trees joined by fate, our stories were meant to be shared,

that my behaviors would become yours, my attitude and big heart

and all-teeth smile and when I look at you, it is like looking at a better,

braver, stronger reflection of myself. “What does your mommy love most?”
I want to ask you. I want to know your answer to the question, to make


sure that the truth is shown by my actions every day, because in a recent study,
kids were asked a similar question and the number one answer was


cell phones. I can’t answer all of your questions, watch all of your schemes, 

read your every word, but I can teach you these truths: Your story 


matters, even when it is long and winding; that danger and love
are allowed to hold hands; and most importantly, you are precious

to me. So even as I teach you these truths, you remind me to climb,
just one limb higher- “You can do it, mommy, just put your foot right here,” to trust 


that someone will always be there to catch me- “remember when daddy caught 

me, it was scary but I was really high”- and to believe that even if I fall 


flat on my face, your tiny hand that will grow to become 

the hand of a man, will pat my shoulder, put your face close


to mine and whisper, “it will be alright.”