Only open arms will do.

I love my husband. Let me state that right off. But he’s frighteningly up to date when it comes to tragic stories, and has this habit of broadcasting horrifying news bits that he’s read online. For instance, shortly after Vincent fell out the window last summer, he told me about a 9 month old in Boston or thereabouts who fell out a window and died. This I did not need.

And recently there was the story of the mom who let go of her son’s hand for a second in the store in order to pay, and when she turned around he was gone. Turned out that he’d run down the street, gotten on the subway, and ridden it for 2 miles before someone noticed the oddity of a little guy (2/3 yrs old) riding the subway solo. Thankfully this story had a happy ending.

But this is just the sort of thing Vincent would do. Despite his scary experience with the window, he continues to be fearless. I have, however, discovered something very interesting: if he’s walking further ahead of me than I like, and I kneel down and hold out my hands while calling for him to look at me, Vincent will run right back to give me a hug and a kiss. It never fails. I find it endlessly fascinating, endlessly comforting that the one gesture that will keep my son safely by me is a display of love.

The Haircut

When the boy’s head is heavy with his own secret
cap of hair, his mother calls him to her,
asking him to tell her about his day.
When last she called him from the depths
of the wood and combed with slender fingers
the golden current of his hair, the white
of his hidden brow, like a headstone,
had made her almost cry.
After she cut his hair, his head was quick
as a deer turning in a field to face new danger.
By the light raining down in a field in August’s waste,
by the antique vase about to be knocked over
by his child’s elbow, by her own perfume
lasting in the room after they leave,
can she explain her pity for him,
his forehead full of blond mysteries?

Carol Frost, from her collection, The Fearful Child (Ithaca House, 1983).

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4 thoughts on “Only open arms will do.

  1. I think reading those stories out loud must be a way to ward of the possibility of them ever happening again.

    And how lovely to picture your son running into your open arms.

  2. This made me laugh a little – my husband does the exact same thing. We’re getting ready to take a 13-hour plane trip in a couple weeks and all he can talk about is how many jet crashes have happened lately.

    But I think Lily’s right, it’s kind of a whistling-past-the-graveyard thing.

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