When your first born says he wants a date night with you – just you – you scrap your holiday party plans and trade your cocktail dress for your Lucky Orange Pants to drive to Charlottesville for this.
In those early days, when your babies want you, just you, all of the time, it can be exhausting. And you think there isn’t enough of you, just you, to go around. You feel like you are not enough. For your children. Your spouse. Your parents. Your friends. Yourself.
The older they get, the more they let go. The more they rely on a tapestry of people to hold their hand as they navigate the waters of childhood. Like they’re supposed to.
There are times when they still want you, just you, but there is a space between those times. And in that space, you feel the once stagnant air circulate and your lungs rise and fall in deep breaths once again. You feel balance.
You, just you, now becomes a subconscious cry. Even when you don’t hear it explicitly, you feel it in the catalogue of likes and dislikes you keep a running tally of, the schedules you remember, the traditions you keep, and the souls you nurture.
Until one day you are alone with you, just you. And you long for the legs that used to curl up neatly in your lap and the fingers that absentmindedly twirled your hair. For the sticky hands that clutched yours for reassurance. For the tentative words that whispered to you in the dark “5 more minutes mom? Will you stay with me for 5 more minutes?”
So when he asks for you, just you, you drop everything.
Because deep in your heart you know the times he wants you, just you, are numbered.
And on the way home, you glance in the rear view mirror. You see his face briefly illuminated by the headlights of passing cars, and you catch your breath. You see all that he was, all that he is, and all that he will be.
And you know how lucky you are that at least for tonight, all he wanted you, just you.