Seattle, 2014

You eat chicken and waffles and don’t share a bite. You pose for a picture with your husband in front of the Space Needle (you look so rested in that photo). You don’t worry about kids getting lost in the museum or laying on the floor in a public bathroom. 

You stroll city streets without a plan, pop into a gallery of glass without hands tugging at your shirt, Mommy, Mommy!

You buy last-minute tickets to The Lion King, eat grilled scallops without hiring a baby-sitter, people watch on the ferry boat ride across the sound. On the island, you buy a pair of earrings: origami cranes. You believe you will still wear dangly earrings.

You browse the children’s section in a bookstore. You spot the familiar title of a poem: I Carry Your Heart With Me. The words are the same ones you have read many times, only now they are whispered not from lover to lover, but mother to child. You read about a love that grows, a love that is limitless, both simple and profound.

You cry in the bookstore.

You rest your hand on top of your belly, feel her stir as you read. You raise your head and see your husband with a puzzled look on his face. You hand him the book.

You will never read a love poem the same way again.

Image of the author and her husband with the Seattle skyline in the background.
Space Needle, Seattle, 2014

I Carry Your Heart With Me by E.E. Cummings, Mati McDonough (Illustrator)
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] by E.E. Cummings

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “280 Words.”

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