neener neener boober, you can’t catch me! she sings from ahead, her small feet skidding through wet gravel as she stares at the lupins, the blooming raspberry bushes, the fallen leaves from the storm the day before.
Echoing in my head is a voice, softly, sadly saying “no, I can’t.”
We let go. We release. We cradle these daughters, sons, our children inside us, until we cannot any longer. Each day that follows is another lesson, another reminder on letting go. Without release, there could be no joy. I watch my youngest, my babe fly upwards, her feet barely touch the ground. She runs down the trail to our house, full of long grass and pooled rainwater. Spiderwebs, wild strawberries, aphids.
Only the water stops her fastidious self.
I cannot catch her. I wouldn’t dream of it. To do so would be to stop a star in it’s progress, to hold it from spilling it’s star stuff, to trap it within limits it cannot hold.She is aloft and spinning, and I am merely her maker, her nebula. Spun from my arms and belly, she travels and glows.
I look at other children, the boys and girls in the neighbourhood, and I can see their future. I can see in their eyes where they’re lit, what they’ll look like, who they’ll be possibly. I see tomorrow in all those little faces. I look back at mine, and I see only the glory of their joy, the sweetness of their curiosity, and the fire that burns behind them.
She runs ahead of me most days now, the child who at one time never left my grasp, the warm sense of my side. She takes off into the moody damp of the woods behind our house, stopping only slightly to see if I’m still coming.
I’ll fall farther behind each time.