I love you. I love you. I love you. Over and over again. 

I am roaming again. 

My stomach aches and I can’t sleep. I’ve fed it something that I knew would come back and haunt me this evening. I don’t know why I do this to myself. So the acid rises up to my throat and there’s the uncomfortable gurgle deep in my guts. 

Bad stomach, they say, genetic.. you got it bad from both sides. 

And then I think of my mother.

You are not her. My sister says. She tells me this multiple times over my lifetime and my own mortality keeps me awake sometimes at night, when the acid rises and my guts bubble. 

I should get to a doctor I think. Get this checked out. But I won’t. Because I know I am not her. 

Instead, I’m in my brain… thinking of a life without me. Thinking of the letters that I write to my boys, that everyone thinks are so sweet. And I say yes, it’s so they know how they were growing up. But in reality it so they can hear from me if ever I go too early. They’ll have my voice with them. Saying I love you. I love you. I love you. Over and over again. 

And I am in my brain. Apologizing to the baby because he doesn’t have as many letters as his older brother. And calling a friend that will take care of their photos and writing down all of the things I do to keep this boat floating that J doesn’t know. Passwords and payments and appointments and keepsakes and letters so many letters. 

And then I am sad. Because people shouldn’t think about things like that. Right? But I do. When I’m roaming and the acid starts to rise. 

And I roll over in the pitch black room and listen to his breathing. Unwrap his arms and make room for myself to crawl in. He mumbles but accepts. But he doesn’t know about my brain and what my stomach makes me think about. He doesn’t live in a world where he can’t speak to his mother and hear I love you. I love you. I love you. Over and over again. 

Where are you going? He asks as I stumble out of bed. 

My stomach is aching. I need to get up. I’ll be back after it settles down. 

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The things I would do for you

Tucking him in… 

“Sometimes I think a bad man is going to come in and take me.”

I look down at him. Sometimes I forget how little he still is even though he is so big. I crawl in bed with him and wrap my arms around him and do my best to find the words to ease his worried mind. 

These talks of fears and thoughts that lead us from one conversation to another and I get to see a small glimpse of what’s happening inside of his head. I get to see a little bit of what makes up the parts of who he is. 

We talk about the dog, our protector, our guardian. We talk about locks and latches and things that keep us safe. We talk about how I would never let anyone hurt him. How I would never let anyone take him away from me. I rub the hair away from his forehead and we talk about everything. 

He tells me of his nightmares… which he still calls nightmarers. He asks me how come I gave him my protector for his dreams when she won’t be able to keep my safe. I tell him the simple truth… that I care more about him than I do myself. 

I’m sure some of this has to do with his daddy being at work during the nighttime lately. He asked for him three times at bedtime tonight. It’s easier with him here. It feels safer with him here. 

Instead I will tuck him in and check on him again before laying down my weary head. Because he doesn’t know the extent of the things I would do for him. He doesn’t know how deep my love goes for him. He doesn’t know that I would do anything to keep him safe.