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  • Last night I went through the evening ritual with my newest grandson, William. First his dinner, a giant bowl of oatmeal, then his bath, or mine considering how much a 5 month old can splash lavender-scented baby bath suds around, then stories (4 books and he pays attention!). Finally, a bottle and sleep. In the dim and quiet of his room, I rock him and feed him his last bedtime bottle. He holds my finger firmly with one hand and pats the bottle with the other. He is heavy in his near-sleep state, allowing me to feel his weight fully in my arms, on my lap. I close my eyes and note the differences in our breathing - his lungs smaller, breaths much closer together. I rub my cheek against the wooly fur, not yet hair, on his head and feel him settling further down into my lap, asleep.

    I drift off with him, but not to sleep. I embark in my memory boat to other times I have held a child while they slept, and I do not regret my own incapabilities of motherhood. I follow my memories down past that road to one that brings me to my own mother and her limitations. Though none of us is perfect and each mother and father has given his/her child at least one reason to go into therapy, the fact that I have survived my life thus far to be holding this perfect, pale, blue-eyed baby as he sleeps is a testament to my divine guide, always leading me forward and not allowing me to anchor my boat in the past where I might shrivel up ineffective and alone to grow old. Instead, I venture out into this pond of my life with a firm tie to the people that anchor me and yet still allow me to float on the winds to places unknown where I know nothing but trust every thing will be fine, just like William trusts me when he falls deeply asleep in my care.
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