Empty arms

I’m not ready for empty arms. It dawned on me this weekend that this is the uncomfortable part of my body I’m not sure how to deal with. When I have friends over with little children or babies, and I sit there with an empty lap or empty arms – I look agitated. I don’t know how to hold myself when I’m not holding someone else.

You’re all right, when it passes – we miss those days. The days of being needed in a way that holding someone near your heartbeat is the only skill needed. My body betrayed me in pregnancy and we definitely made the final decision to stop the flow of childbearing for my health. But all this time later, all these hugs and lap mornings and snuggles later … I realize that the emptiness isn’t inside at all. It’s outside, it’s on the exterior, it’s the emptiness of the weight of someone else on my hip.

My daughter is getting too heavy to carry her, but I still try – every chance she’ll let me. My son is still weightless in my arms, he still floats around my body like a feather and I’ve stopped trying to explain it to Aaron – that I need just a little more contact. If today is the last day he’ll let me hold him, I need today. I need to memorize how he smells after he wakes up, I need to touch the nape of her neck before she goes to bed no matter what.

I need those moments, I need those memories. I need those reminders that not that long ago they were the little fingers on my chest, the gummy mouths all over my nose. The tender little ropes tied to my calves.

I don’t say this to wish away what I have right now or to hurdle my family into circumstance we haven’t considered – I just know that the ache I have is real. And I thought I needed to fill it, like escaping the mystery would solve the problem. When really, maybe I just need to sit on the ground and fold my arms around the emptiness.

Because this too shall pass. And if I keep going forward looking back I’ll never see what’s right in front of me. What has been all along.


Red balloons

Most adorable sailor I know


walks downtown

Why walk when you can jump?

Our adventure still awaits

Adventure awaits

it isn’t over yet.

6 thoughts on “Empty arms

  1. I think I’m speechless…but I want to try to say…somehow you write what I didn’t know was already in there, and more than that, you make sense of it for me. Reading it releases something…or something like that…

  2. sometimes I write what I didn’t know was already in there and writing it makes sense of it for me πŸ™‚ Samesies. And thank you so so much.

  3. “Because this too shall pass. And if I keep going forward looking back I’ll never see what’s right in front of me. What has been all along.”
    That reminds me…a few years ago, I found wisdom from (of all places) the Pixar movie, “The Incredibles”.
    Edna Mode says, “I never look back darling, it distracts from the now”.
    It serves me well on feelings of all sorts… πŸ™‚

  4. My mom found your blog and asked me to read this post. She knew I would feel it in every bone of my body, and I do. I really do. You explain the wonderful heartbreak in such a beautiful way. I don’t know what else to say, except thank you.

  5. Maria,

    Thank you so much for your kind words and commenting πŸ™‚ I’m so glad that this essay spoke to other women – I was struggling with this but didn’t know how to put it to words until I just tried. Thank you for understanding my rambling πŸ™‚ There seems to be a silence to the acceptance of motherhood and it can be isolating if I let it. I’m glad I’m not alone.

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