by Wendy Newbury
One day you’ll ask me about your fifth birthday, perhaps when you’re ten, twenty-one, or forty; I’ll tell you how windy it was returning home on the interstate from breakfast that morning, your father suggesting we take a rain check on mini golf; we didn’t want you blowing away. Just to tease you, I’ll mention how the wind, fierce and wild, spun livestock from nearby farms, while we all, except your baby brother fast asleep and full on chocolate teddy bear pancakes, watched them whip past, slack-jawed, as they collided with swerving semi-trucks ahead; you’ll interrupt me, “Mom, there weren’t flying animals,” no longer gullible to my stories, but I’ll pretend you still are. “Let me finish,” I’ll say and hold the treasures you’ve given me all those years close; when you tell me you love me out of the blue, except it isn’t out of the blue, it’s my mommy brain that’s clouded and roaming, restless, until your words catch and ground me, remind me where we are, where I belong; when we play “monsters” so convincingly, I growling and chasing you around the house on hands and knees, backing you into corners, and you stand your ground, terrified, yet bold enough to stare me down, my snarled teeth in your face, reach out to touch mine, cautious, making sure mom is in there somewhere; when you learned about dimples, having discovered them on everyone else and walked towards me smiling so wide, love swallowed me whole, asking me to find yours and place your tiny fingers there so you could trace it yourself, run into the bathroom, climb the stepping stool and catch the tiny wonder in the mirror, your own magical signature of joy; or when you asked me one night if I’ll ever stop being your mommy, like there’s a limit on this thing we’ve got going, and it scares you I may change my mind, stop; but I know there’s no such limit, and though I will blow away one day, you’re not talking about that now; when I cover you in kisses and tickle you to hide my tears from pondering how the wind will take me, you already despise and wipe my smooches clean, you’ll miss them, so I press in again, “Let me finish,” I say.
Wendy Newbury is a writer from Washington state, residing in the Tri-Cities. Her writing is featured in The New York Times, Tiny Love Stories column,Roi Fainéant Press, JMWWJournal, Gastropoda, Red Fez, and Complete Sentence.She is currently writing her debut memoir. You can find her @newburywrites on Twitter or newburywrites.com