Someone to Hold On To
When did you first understand the meaning of love? For Life Lessons Essay Contest winner Mara Eve Robbins, that moment came unexpectedly, overwhelmingly, when one small gesture helped her cope with an enormous loss.
Holding you, rocking your small body as it shook with sobs, I thought about saying something about a bandage not working for
this kind of pain. I thought about pain itself, how sometimes it was a relief to feel an obvious physical injury.
When your crying slowed, I helped you blow your nose on the edge of my T-shirt and I picked you up and took you with me into the bathroom. Setting you down on the edge of the sink for a moment, I got several Band-Aids out of the medicine cabinet, wet a washcloth, and took you back to bed.
Your body was limp from weeping. I folded the washcloth into quarters and placed it on your forehead. “Do you want a Hello Kitty Band-Aid? Or a Sesame Street one? I have one more—let’s see—oh, it’s Toy Story.” I moved the washcloth so that it was centered on your forehead. “Which one would you like?”
“I like the Sesame Street one, Mom,” you said, reaching out to hold them, “especially if it has Cookie Monster. And I like the Hello Kitty one, too. But Daddy liked Toy Story a lot. We all saw it, remember? He liked Buzz Lightyear. ‘To infinity and beyond!’ ”
A tiny smile crept across your face. “I want the Toy Story one.”
I unwrapped the Band-Aid, placed it carefully on your chest, smoothed it down, and climbed into bed beside you. You put your head on my shoulder, and I held you there, humming a lullaby. Soon we were both asleep.
Check out the two runners up, to this year's contest, The Embrace by Kenneth Krattenmaker and Knowing Sam by Molly Fessler. Want to participate in next year’s competition? Click here for details about the Fifth Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest.