I am the tree, you are the monkey.
Daily you ascend my branches. Daily I bend under your enthusiastic clambering. You pick the fruit, and I sustain you. My body aches from the days of carrying your 65 pounds and my heart from the ten years we spent apart.
I ache with loving you.
I ache with hurting for you, with you, near you, by you.
There are those magic moments.
The after-school one when you run to me, throwing all the weight of your body forward, full of delight to be back in my arms.
The before-school one when I lean down to kiss your head and you don’t smell like a stranger anymore, you smell like my baby. Can I ever explain how much that one smell means to me? I tell you “Oh, you smell like my baby! My baby Leo.” And you chirp in my arms, a small animal completely at the mercy of my devastating love – a love that could destroy you in only one moment should I choose the wrong way. This is the terrible power I hold as your second mother.
There are dreadful moments too. You know them, I know them, sometimes another person knows them if we speak, in a moment of great strength. But no one shares the pain like we two do. Your pain, bleeding slowly into my heart; me soaking it all up. And this too is the job of a mother, to suffer your sufferings, to feel your deepest grief, to allow myself to be hurt with your hurting.
Those stories, too deep to be ever properly told. They make scars in my heart that echo the scars on your skin, the many little marks I will never know the stories of. The ones that make me cry at night.
Oh my precious Leo. How much you have been made to bear. How deep your loss, your pain, your grief. How full my heart with loving you.
My baby, Leo.