Of all the hands I held today, I can’t stop thinking about holding yours. I looked down and it was over. You did it. But you didn’t let go of my hand. And I didn’t want to let go of your hand. Ever. I wanted you to know that this is how a mama loves. Never lets go. Holds on tight, in the best way. She cherishes precious moments when her sweet “big” boy needs a mama’s strength to get him through. She doesn’t say, “Don’t act like a baby. Stop crying. You’re not a man.” She says, “It’s okay. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. You are my baby. This is hard. Really hard. I will help carry you through this. I love you more than anything in this world.” Hold on to me. I won’t let go. I promise.
I can’t stop thinking about you. I want to change your course. Take your unpredictable, off-road past and steer you towards a gentle, kind-hearted, smooth-paved future. I want to do more for you. I hate that I can’t sneak you away to a new start. To a far-away, yet, close place where you can know that you really are just a child. For this brief, blink-of-an-eye time in your life. I want to unload all of those heavy adult-sized bags off of your child-sized back. They do not belong there. Your eyes have seen too much. Your ears have not heard enough of the routine sounds of a safe, comforting home. “Dinner time. Wash your hands…. It’s time for bed. Pick a book….I love you to the moon and back….No, I love you the most.” Instead, you must have heard loud screams, things breaking, toddler-sized hearts. The fast pitter-patter of tiny scared feet running to you. Doors slamming. After all, you are the oldest. Not nearly old enough to endure what you have. You are to be protected, not be the protector.
I wish I could take away all of your pain, all of the scary, painful, unfair things that have happened to you. I wish I could lead you out of that unforgiving, deep dark forest filled with lies, abuse, and fear. I would tell you over and over again, “You are valuable. You are a beautiful boy. You deserve to be protected, fought for, and cared for every minute of every single day. You deserve to feel safe, like you belong. I am proud of you. I love you.” And I just met you. You have so much hope to offer this world. I believe in you. You are not a lost cause. You can overcome. Prove every statistic wrong. You deserve to have sweet dreams of playful childhood games, not nightmares of the horrible reality of hurt, pain, loss and the uncertainty that your future holds. It hardly seems like enough to do. But, for now, I will pray for you, think of you and hope the best for you. For the rest of my life. Of all the hands I have and will hold, I will never forget holding your hand.