It’s been a long and full summer and I’ve been happy to spend every day with my children. We’ve laughed and we’ve sometimes cried, walked and skipped, danced and lazed our days away, sipping iced coffees and lemonade. It’s been exhilarating and exhausting, all at the same time in that oxymoronic and wonderful way that motherhood always is. Summer is coming to an end, and with the changes of the seasons, many other changes are headed our way. My son just started kindergarten. The baby is talking up a storm, and while she has never slept well, now she only sleeps if she’s in our bed. My husband and I are both adjusting to changes in our work and home. In fact, I went back to work this week.
Lately, my son has been crawling into my arms a few times a day and letting me hold him. His legs are getting so long and while I can still pick him up and carry him, my arms quickly tire under his newfound weight—the weight of a boy who just turned six. These days of carrying him are slowly coming to a close, much like these long summer nights that will soon turn into the crispness of fall, the leaves falling from the trees in shades of amber and rust…. So, instead of carrying him around, he crawls into my lap. When he finds his spot in my lap, like he has for many years, he draws his arms around my neck and we sit like that, and I rock him back and forth like a baby. We laugh and snuggle until his little sister toddles over, climbs on him, and we make room for her to join in our rocking hug. But for a minute or so, in the times we have alone, it’s just the two of us, lost in our embrace.
Today, in a teasing tone, I asked him why he wanted me to hold him so much. He leaned back, his blonde temples made blonder by the light coming in from the back window, his gray eyes, serious. Then, he leaned in and said, “It’s because your arms feel like home.” My heart melted at the poetry in his words, this boy who has stolen my heart. To me, there is no better compliment. There is no greater gift, job, or purpose than for my arms to be his home. We rocked a bit more and then I whispered to him, “Your arms feel like my home, too.”
Sweet child, my arms will be your home, now and forever. And your arms, well, they’re my home, too.
Your arms take me back to the little girl, running through the woods, the green moss the carpet under her bare feet.
Your arms make me remember dressing up in a pinafore dress to sit in the garden and make believe I was having a tea party, all by myself.
Your arms remind me of dirt roads and hazy sun, my bike cutting its way through the breeze.
Your arms make me feel strong and invincible again, like I felt long ago, jumping over logs as I ran in the pasture.
Your arms remind me that I am brave, just like you. Life can be hard, but with your arms around my neck, I forget all of my worries.
Your arms are crisp air and clear skies, under a blanket of stars, right by my favorite lake—the one I always visited with your dad when we were teenagers.
Your arms are the possibilities ahead, the future that awaits us both.
From my arms, you leave the world to explore, to see, to go on your grand adventure. But your arms remind me of who I once was and who I want to be.
So, I open my arms today: to new possibilities, new chances, new beginnings, and new endings. And I’m so happy my arms are your home.