Warm gray sky veined with branches out the window on the first day of May as I nurse my son to sleep and I recall a warm storm one evening when I was seven. Porch swing, white eyelet dress, glittery plastic pony in my hand, my best friend next door in her living room watching the Miss Teen America pageant. What I felt as I leaned into the wind: the future is coming, the future is coming, and there is so much I don’t yet know about everything, my best friend, who we would be, how the invisible maelstrom of love and pain and decisions crouched before us all like the horizon, its breath warm on our cheeks.
What is the day.
What is one evening. What is one evening when I was seven, and one when I am thirty-three, and the dangling chain draped between them, a collar brooch. What is the throat beneath this collar.
My son does so many things well, even though he has only been in our world for five months. He eats, he grows, he crows and croons his language up into the sky of our bedroom for us to wake to. He lets a sharp tooth within his mouth pierce his gums, he smiles and uses his eyes to say he loves us, he wants to sit up while holding our hands, he has started to roll over. He naps erratically but sleeps well at night. We nurse as the light leaves the room, and when it’s dark, he’s full and asleep. I let him fall deeper into his sleep, into his dreams. I transfer him to his crib, slowly, matching our breaths, matching my movements to our breaths, lifting, standing, approaching the crib and placing him inside, trying each night for the softest descent. Shh shh shh, three times, times nine or ten or fifty, shh shh shh. Let the day fall away from you, sweet baby. Tomorrow there is more.
Our day gets spent. Sometimes it clinks by in pennies, three books read sprawled on an elephant blanket, a granola bar eaten in six minutes, moments laughing back and forth at the joke of how I touch his nose and say boop, a song about a monkey, a diaper, a diaper, a diaper. At some point in the day, I lose a stack of bills, it becomes 4:00 in the afternoon, or I am suddenly washing my face before bed.
Never before him have I been able to wake early without an alarm clock. Now I wake to his noises. I do not go out to work. I do not need to rush to get ready. I change him, I feed him, I let him doze. Maybe I doze while holding him. My husband gets up and we talk to our son. I’ll shower and come downstairs and we will start our day. I will move based on his needs. Son, you are my clock.