Holding a child close to your chest
raises your body temperature;
you can feel your core rise and
flow out to the child, to
warm and protect her.
I know that intellectually—
It’s a proven fact—and I know it
emotionally, because I’ve experienced it
and I remember experiencing it.
But what I don’t feel anymore,
can’t really remember,
is what it feels like to hold a child
close, with her body snuggling in ever
closer, and feeling that heat
flow from your body to hers.
It has been too many years,
and I often took it for granted when
I bothered to reflect on it at all, or
worse, so many of those times I was
distracted by the thought I should be
doing something else,
something more productive:
Preparing a lecture, writing a
monograph on Southern history, grading
papers, even fixing that blasted step that
couldn’t seem to ever hold a nail or even a screw.