You were ready with love bursting when you met that handsome young man in the uniform who spoke like a farmer. You walked with an elegance that defied your age and your words dripped honey sweet from your mouth and I'm sure that, in the end, that is what did him in. You ran away into the night, hands held tight, wishes trailing from your tailpipe, desire flooding like pools of joy. And on the other side of that day, you were One.
And soon you were three and four and five and six. The years would stack like so many dishes and several moves would have you settle in different houses, different states, even. You would leave your beloved South-land, with its Camelias and Finch's BBQ, its red dirt and turnip greens, and you would walk bravely into cities whose edges turned sharper and whose winter's blew colder.
And all along the way, you crafted joy. You danced jitterbugs across linoleum and slapped your knee with every hearty guffaw. Your animated storytelling enraptured neighbors and strangers alike and your ability to connect with people endeared you to everyone you met.
My arrival was a completely unforeseen surprise, tacked onto the back side of an already well lived and very full life. I'm sure my entrance was cause for many deep breaths, or the wringing of busy hands, or the prompting for many prayers thrown heaven's way.
But the most amazing thing?
I always felt like the most desired child in the world.
Never once did I ever question how very much I was loved and cherished and adored.
Even in my more adolescent moments, like the one captured in the picture above, where you are sitting at a picnic table, smiling at those around you and I sit, in the background, gazing at you. My smug expression is not the truth of that moment. What looks like angst and resignation is really me just trying to take the all of you in.
And I continue to want to take you in. The all of you.
Because I know that, no matter my age or station, no matter the day of week or what year whispers from the corner of the calendar page, I want the all of me to house all the glorious parts of you I've gathered.
Because I've been collecting them, you know. These parts of you.
The ways you cuddled and caressed, the ways you embraced and enfolded, the ways you bore all and believed all. The myriad ways in which you loved--whether it was through story, or coffee, or grandkids, or fried catfish, or Carol Burnett, or fireworks.
All of this? All of the beautiful and mundane, the fascinating and trivial, the whole and the half?
It's part of me too, now. Tucked away in the obvious and secret places, planted in soil made rich with your love and care for me.
And I pray that one day, when the pictures are pulled out and the chronology of my becoming is on display, the one thing that will have leaked out all over, dripping from the corners of my eyes and the edge of my smile, is the amazing truth...
that I was loved by you.
This post was inspired by today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt however, I, in no way, stuck to the rules.
Sometimes, I like to break the rules.