0043 | holding on

Sometimes—
Often—
Most nights, I’m woken by my daughter, Bessie, who appears at my side of the bed – the one nearest to the door, which leads onto the landing, which leads to her room – and she waits patiently for me to ask if she’s OK. I ask if she’s OK. She nods. I ask if she wants me to come to her room and cuddle her. She nods again, sometimes with the softest caress of the word ‘yes’, as her head bobs down and then back up, and we walk to her room, and she returns to her bed, and her eyes close immediately, and I lie down next to her. And there is barely mattress to sleep on and there is barely enough duvet to cover. I place an arm round her, reach for the hand that holds her rabbit and wrap fingers around her fingers. I pull my knees up and in towards her and she rests her feet against them. And I lie there and I close my eyes and I try to find sleep again. Sometimes it comes immediately, sometimes after an hour or so, occasionally not at all. I hold onto her, and to all her beauty, and to all that love, that impossible power between us, which she takes for granted, and which I fear will one day be altered so radically. If I sleep, I might wake rested; but if I don’t, I’ve cheated time – forever remained in that moment of her coming to find and be comforted by me, clung to that gentle nod and that quiet whisper, that cupping of skin, that placing of feet – and managed to hold on for that little bit longer to my daughter.

Reader Comments

  1. As the mother of a very freshly minted 14 year old, I so appreciate the beauty of these lovely moments you share with Bessie. Just as I love the surprise and simplicity of my big girl’s gestures when she comes up to me on a whim and leans into me–head well over my shoulder now–and says, “Mommy, I want a hug.”

  2. “..that impossible power between us, which she takes for granted, and which I fear will one day be altered…”

    Yes, yes.

    Beautiful, Matt. She’ll read this when she older and want to turn back time for a bit.

  3. beautiful Matt, I am glad to know this feeling, to have my own experience. “i pull my knees……..” how well i understand this very thing.

  4. The delicate tracery of your love forever etched in her memory. It is influential and true. You have an extraordinary ability to capture the majesty of simple moments.

    The teen years for you as parent will be a delicate balance of being cool, but not too cool. In other words, don’t be an embarrassment which will be on whim every single day.

    1. Kimberly:
      I steel myself for my embarrassment to be to my children every day and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s still OK to walk them to school and hold their hands as we go. Thank you for your kind comment.

  5. Mary-Colleen:
    Hugs still at 14! That’s the nicest thing I could have wished to read here!

    Pia:
    Thank you, you write such similar things, too, so beautifully.

    Janey:
    Thanks, J.

    Meemalee:
    Weepie comments count double! Thank you.

    Nadia:
    I love that you know this feeling.

  6. Every word you’ve described is so true.
    This has made me smile having just put my little four year old Mr Moon to bed.
    :o) x

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