When I was a very little girl, very little, before I went into kindergarten, I would sometimes fall asleep downstairs on the couch.
And instead of waking me up and telling me to go up to my own bed, when I was this little, my father would instead pick me up and carry me. Place me in my own bed.
I can remember being picked up. Can remember how that felt against the backdrop of sleep. I’d wake up just enough to register it was him picking me up. But not enough that my sleep would be disrupted.
And in those moments, feeling him carry me up the stairs, I would feel so warm. So loved. So safe.
Until I met you, that was the only time I ever felt that way. With anyone.
When I got too big to carry, my father woke me up and told me to go up to bed. And I did, knowing that I was too big to carry now. Big enough to be tasked with the responsibility of learning to take care of myself now, in small steps. It was exciting in a way, because I wanted to be a grownup. Knowing, interesting. Able to make my own choices.
One of the big kids.
But terrifying, too. Because I wasn’t very good at taking care of myself. And the people who were supposed to teach me weren’t always good at explaining. Not until I messed up. And then the punishments always overshadowed the actual lesson.
Still, I muddled through. And somewhere along the way, my childhood expired, and I was on my own. Until I met others who were even worse at taking care of themselves. I became a kind of parent to my first husband, something that didn’t really make either of us happy.
But you… you were different. You took care of me. You made me feel safe.
And somehow, even with all my flaws, I managed to do the same for you.
I still don’t understand how it happened, how I got this lucky. But I’m never taking it for granted. And I’m terrified of losing you.