What does it mean to hold someone?
Last night it occurred to me: I wonder if my girls remember what it was like for me to hold them, like really hold them. I did it so often when they were small, there was usually always one of them on me at all times.
I remember it so vividly-the weight of them on my thighs, the press of their chest against mine, the smell of them, the quiet our embrace evoked.
I wonder sometimes, will they ever need me to hold them again in that same way? It’s funny because sometimes it’s almost an impulse when I’m hugging them to go that extra step and pick them up. It’s like my body remembers. But they’re taller than me now, and it’s doubtful I’ll ever be able to carry them or hold them in quite the same way.
I don’t remember being held by my mother or father, but I know they did it. I see pictures of me on laps, being carried to and fro, or being rocked in the arms of one of them. What complete and utter comfort that must have brought.
I know I’m still being held in many ways by my parents, by Timmy, and by my friends. I know that hold looks different.
I remember when Gram was dying. I called the hospice wing of the hospital. It was early in the morning, maybe 6am. I asked to be connected to her room and they told me she had lost the ability to speak. I felt gutted. I ran into the bedroom where my sister was staying while in town and just lost my mind with grief. She pulled me into bed and let me weep against her. That was her, holding me.
I remember watching the news the day Sandy Hook happened and trying so hard not to fall apart in front of the girls. I went into the bathroom, called my mother, and just sobbed. She just silently sobbed with me, not really knowing what to say. The silence, the space she gave me for my pain was her holding me.
Then, there’s you. The audience I have been writing for my entire life. You are sometimes real, but mostly not. You are very small, but important to me. You have been in my life longer than anyone or anything. In the introduction to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (which is a gorgeous book, by the way, and I highly recommend it-even if you have seen the show. She’s a brilliant writer), Atwood writes, “Every recorded story implies a future reader.”
What Atwood is talking about is the literature of witness, which applies to some of our most sacred texts, but it also refers to any literature or writings. Who are we writing for if not a future reader? If not an intended audience? Some writers will say there is something inside of them they must exorcise, like a wound pushing life from its seams, but for me writing has always been a way to connect myself with the world, to engage with those in it. And you hold me in ways you will never know.
So today, I want to leave you with this: thank you for reading. Thank you for holding my thoughts on this cloudy, snowy Saturday. And if you have children of loved ones you can pick up and hold, please do so (with consent of course). But, do not do this with strangers or random children, as that might get weird.
Here’s a picture from my backyard in Northeast Pennsylvania this morning:
There’s nothing more I love than a moody, cloudy sky!
News and updates:
Upcoming: I have some exciting projects lined up for this space in the form of a podcast/audio experience. Stay tuned for that!
What I’m watching: I finished Couples Therapy on Showtime which was brilliant. If you’re interested in what makes people tick and observing the dynamic between people, I highly recommend.
Timmy and I are watching The Sandman which is also great.
Finally, here’s some good news for your day.
As always, thanks for listening.
Thanks for reading Miss Remembering ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Reading your post this week reminded me that I wanted to respond to your last post-- but both have themes that are current events for me. My elder daughter will turn 15 on Wednesday. Our relationship is fine, even good, although I am somewhat envious of my bestie, who goes on and on about how close she and her teenage daughter are; how terrific she is; how she cooks for whole family; blah blah. Anyway, like you, Amye, thinking of how close my daughter and I once were until she was about 12 kinda breaks my heart. I mean, if missing being worshipped by my young child makes me narcissistic, well, I guess the shoe fits. I was always her "sweet Mama" and she wanted to do everything and go everywhere with me all the time. It's just one of those situations that I think you referenced in a recent podcast... that you just don't know when the last time will be for any of those sweet Moments. Anyway, I too remember what it was like to hold little M; it's muscle memory for sure. Thanks so much for your reflections on these themes.