Hold You


I saw it happen before it happened. I saw it in slow motion. I looked into the future and saw your foot tuck under and your sweet little head make contact with the table, and still, I was one step too late.

I scoop you into my arms and fixate on the swelling just above the bridge of your nose. I hold you in front of me assessing and cataloguing. Memorizing the location and size of the welp transforming into a lump right before my eyes.

Blood pounds in my ears and my inner voice murmurs in rhythm: no, no, no, no…

It takes me a moment to notice your little arms reaching, begging me to hold you closer.

“Hold you, Momma. Hold you…”

I pull you to me and let your tears fall on my bare shoulder. 

“It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK.”

I’m cooking and you’re playing with pots and wooden spoons at my feet. You’re concentrating on getting the lid on a pot and it won’t quite fit. You’re frustrated and I bend down to help.

“Like this,” I say. “Like this.” 

I place the lid and remove it. Once. Twice

“Now, Ezra do it.”

I hand you the lid and you do. Your smile is pure joy and I feel nothing else. You reach out for me.

“Hold you.”

“No, hold me,” I correct.

You don’t care for my edit and you say it again: “Hold you, Momma.”

I shake my head and pull you close anyway. Together we celebrate. The pot and the lid—you and me.

I’m working and stressed. I’m adopting new routines but nothing ever changes fast enough for me and I’m frustrated.

 You’re playing with your sister in the next room while I work at the computer. Suddenly, you’re beside me and you slide a book onto my desk.

“Bookt. Hold you.”

I smile and wave you off.

“Not now. Momma is busy. Momma is working. Momma is tired.”

“Bookt. Hold you.”

“No, my love. Momma has too much going on. Momma has to finish this. It’s important.”

“Bookt. Hold you.”

I can feel my stress level rising. There’s never been enough time and there’s even less now. 

“Momma. Hold you.”

I shake my head. “Hold me. It’s hold me.”

Your brown eyes are endless as you stare into mine.

“Momma. Hold you.”

I give up.

With an angry sigh I lift you to me. You smile and kick your feet on the way up. You find your place against my chest and bury your head into my neck.

“Momma,” you whisper.

And suddenly it’s gone. 

Hold you.

The anxiety. The anger. The stress. The disappointment. The unrealistic and illogical expectations. All of it self-imposed.

Hold you.

With you in my arms the only pressure is your hands against my shoulders and the book sandwiched between us.

I realize your words had stopped being a request and instead become an offer.

Hold you.

I let you mesmerize me. I breathed you in. Your soft skin. Your perfect curls. The smell of novelty and newness you still wear. 

Hold you, Momma.

Hold me, I said, and I held you anyway.

Hold you, you said, and finally, I let you hold me.

And you know what? 

It turns out, either way is right.

Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, teacher, mother, wife, blogger, and the owner of the eponymous Liza Dora Books. Her writing has been in publications around the world and her books have been featured in both media and print. She’s sold books in over ten different countries and her titles have been both Amazon Hot New Releases and Amazon Bestsellers in their respective categories. You can Shop Liza's Books on Amazon (affiliate) or at LizaDoraBooks.com. Find designs, curriculum, and more from Liza at LizaDoraDesign.com. Or get Liza's help in building your own online blog or business at ADORAHOUSE MEDIA.