To sum it up, she has my heart - as many children have who I've had to give up at some point or another. It's a novelty, really. Thinking of having a child one day that's MINE. To keep. Forever.
Despite our long history of her tantrums as a two-year-old (there were some wing-doosies), her emotional breakdowns and wily manipulation, fighting with her over what she eats and drinks, winning the battle of brushing her hair every morning and crying with her sometimes, it's her I look forward to seeing nearly every afternoon.
I'd gotten her dressed yesterday and was brushing her hair when her daddy came in the kitchen.
"I'm going with Holly," she told him, some in words, some in her gibberish.
He sang her a funny song and she ran back into the living room to mimick it for me. When she finished, she threw herself into me for a giggly hug.
I'm used to her displays of affection - her spontaneous hugs, her peeking open the door just to say, "I love you, Holly." I always hug her back and I always say, "I love you too, Josey." Always. Even if it's the 10th time in 15 minutes.
Naturally, this time, I opened my arms and she fell into me, laughing. I enveloped her and whispered, "I love you," into her hair.
Her giggling stopped and she melted, falling heavier into my chest and grabbing tighter with her hands.
That's what we do.
She melts and I hold her - as long as she needs.
These are safe arms, I thought.
Arms that say honey buns aren't good for us because they "have too much sugar."
Arms that say water is the only beverage on the menu tonight
Arms that promise a golf cart ride to the lake
Arms that introduce the imaginary adventure of books
Arms that begin the process of reading and writing with exciting new school supplies
Arms that say bedtime is bedtime
Arms that wrestle and tickle
Arms that hold and rock to sleep in the hammock
Arms that say "I love you"
I hope you have your safe arms.