There is a woman holding a child who is crying profusely, but his eyes are gorgeous as they swell and release. And the child’s cry is growing louder now, so she stands in hopes of soothing him, perhaps in hopes of relieving the ears of those who sit nearby — enjoying their childless morning coffee. So she steps out in front of me, and the baby looks right into my eyes with his tears glistening before they fall, and I wonder who he’ll be someday. This baby held helpless within this woman’s arms. He will, God willing, grow to be a man someday. And, as a man, he will lack the recollection of this moment (which is one amidst hundreds of similar scenarios). He will not recall crying within her arms, he will never know himself as this small, he will not realize his need for her within this moment and within all these coming years — until he holds his own crying child. But she will remember. She steps out in front of me, and she does not see me. But I see her, and I see this crying piece of who she is. She will remember his tears and his need. She will see his infant self even when he stands tall as a man. And that is what motherhood is, I assume. Holding on to time as if it were a child — impossible and constantly changing; hopeful and heart breaking; something to look back on, and something to look toward.
I think of being twenty-four, and I think of how old I’ll be when I no longer have the luxury of sitting outside of a coffee shop, as I am now. In this season of life I welcome all interruptions the pieces of who I am have to offer because they drive the stories I write. I sit and draw from myself. But someday I may have a living, physical piece of who I am. I think of the spontaneous and constant interruption it will be at morning coffee, I think of the noise, of the sacrifice. I think of walking away from morning coffee to ease the ears of those sitting nearby, and it occurs to me that that will be the best story I could ever write.