She kicks while arms strike air,
Calling me to gallop, showing
She’s not had enough; and I’m
Doing everything I can to keep
Her satisfied, to keep her calm
While body marks growth with
Her pain; subsiding, my bridle
Bitten to avoid tears mixing
With the drool on our arms,
She quickens my feet, turning me
Around the couch we sit on to eat;
I twist to reverse, to give her
Something new, something to
Catch the attention fighting those
Cries; and her eyes move ahead,
Guessing our path, when I buck
And find another way to do the
Same thing, to stretch our walls
And give her want to smile, to
Free her, all while fighting those
Cries.

You saw right through me today,
And all the ways I can’t protect you,
Whether in my sight or from it.
And you stared, and I cried,
The first time I’ve done so since your birth,
And you saw me as a fraud,
As this parent by necessity,
And whose only banner is of Try,
Whose only recourse is to soothe you,
And to support you, to hold you
While you cannot hold yourself,
And to give you reassurance
When you cannot know you need it
And to let you know I’ll always be here.
Even if you see right through that lie,
Know I’ll always be here
While I’m here, and I hope to leave you
With more than enough to be who you are.

I can’t protect her everywhere she goes, and that is crippling to think about. I felt this loss, this squeezing of my soul when I looked at her this morning. I knew this wouldn’t be how it always is, with her hands resting on mine, calmed by just my presence. I knew that she would grow up and rebel, or be pressured, or love, and that her mom and I couldn’t be there if she absolutely needed us to be there. I thought about my weight, about how I need to do better and be better so that I can be her support just those few years longer. I thought of how selfish I still am, despite Candi and I being the least selfish we’ve ever been. I felt how I always want to feel: protective.

She
She screams and I hear it
Ripping away my childhood,
Giving me every reason to be
The feeder she wants, the
Protector she needs.

When you’re this hungry, everything is edible

Especially the puffy appendages of a newborn. Not that I would /eat/ our daughter’s means of writing & walking, but I would stare at them for hours.

How did we grow her? What type of millennia after millennia after eons after eons would allow for evolution to deposit our daughter, asleep, in my arms? How did this even happen?

I need to protect her. I feel every current of air pass by her, and want to inspect each to ensure they’re worthy of touching or, God forbid, being breathed by our daughter. She deserves better than anything we can give, and we must do everything to keep her as happy as we can with the materials this world offers.

I smile and laugh and tear up when I look at her. She poops, I laugh; she burps, I cheer; she smiles, a piece of me is rebuilt from whatever tore me down before. That’s what it is– she is rebuilding me. She is giving me reason and purpose, and I am trying everything to keep her as happy as she can be, because her sadness will break me.

I’m hungry for more time– for centiseconds and milliseconds and nanoseconds to be more tangible, so we can spend more of each with her.

Originally posted this on the app Tencil, which starts each post with a phrase as a prompt, and limits writing to 10 minutes. Nifty.

As a writer, I always worried about what I would leave behind. I felt my writing was, honestly, only being left for me. Now, with you, I am leaving something for the world. It’s more than me now, but it is my lineage. And that makes me feel more happy than I thought I could be, and more than I thought I deserved to be. You are what I will leave as a mark on this world; you are a living embodiment of who I and your mother are, and for that I am grateful.