Looking through time, 8 years ago…

Devyn is 2. We’ve only just moved into our RV. He and I are alone after dark for the first time. Nothing is the same. We’re not in a neighborhood with head lights dragging shadows along our walls, but in a campground 10 miles out of town. Our home is foreign. I’m the foreigner. Devyn is at home anywhere with anyone. He’s alone with mommy. We’ve eaten and there’s no plan but to wait for daddy. Outside, darkness. Inside, paneled walls, late 70’s orange and green furniture, ghosts of hope and visions of what may come, but at this moment, there is only us and time loses meaning, refuses to inch forward. Nothing else to clean, nothing else to read, nothing else to distract myself and I don’t even know that’s what I’ve been doing.
Devyn sees none of this. He sees me slowing down. He knows what he likes, what we always do when mom sits down. First he nurses, then we read. Only this time, grandma isn’t in the next recliner sipping hot tea and David isn’t telling jokes from the couch. There is only me and a magnificent spirit, a spirit in my care and I’m ready to break apart, ready to climb straight out of my skin. Instead I breathe into the moment. I have no choice. Devyn’s brought a book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes to my lap, a book we haven’t read before. Were sitting in a fake-velvet chair. My feet are up on a low round table covered with yellow shag carpet. To my left is a small square of safety glass and brown wall. Ahead I see a two inch painted, porcelain kitten with a ball of yarn stuck with Velcro atop the mini cabinet containing every key we may use and a few brittle packages of fuses.
I’m not struck by the immensity of our next adventure or how we’ll afford to take off before winter. I’m hovering on the brink of anxiety mixed with sadness and a warmth I’ve never felt. This small living space makes us two souls floating as if in a night dream. I’m the big one, the one who is supposed to love and keep safe the small, fragile one. I am the one who is supposed to help the other be kind, happy, well adjusted. Somewhere in a yet unseen cavern of my being I wonder how one so broken and awkward can ever succeed at being his mother.
Devyn is so tiny for his age, when he sits in my lap, even my 5’4, 125lb frame contains all but his legs that hang just barely over the chair. “Mommy, read,” he says, handing me his little book of pastel drawings.
As I sing each word, we rock in time.

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