There is something magical about a sleeping child. My son turned five last week and I wrote this poem when he was two, as the title suggests.
As a parent, especially as a working parent, nap time can be a precious time to be productive. I had a ritual of pausing for a few minutes to just watch him sleep before I ran for my To Do list. It was a sort of meditation to just watch and soak in the awe of his existence.
I don’t mention it in the poem, but at the time I was experiencing the transition to single parenting, and these moments to let awe sink in were crucial to keeping purpose and perspective.
After Two Years, I Should Be Doing Anything Else
Slow breaths fill your body, still small,
but no longer so delicate.
North, South, East, West -
legs and arms sprawl.
When you were six weeks old,
a stranger told me how it would be:
his son is eighteen and still
he can’t stop staring.
You stare at your children
as long as they let you.
Awe slackens my jaw, straightens my spine,
smoothes tense fingers, stabilizes breath.
I watch you sleep and everything
is emptied from me.