Index and Pinky

by crobertson

I have nightmares about loosing Braeden in public places.  Nightmares.

In the mall, we are among thousands of people.

“Braeden.”  “Hold my hand please.”

“Braeden.”  “Please hold my hand.”  His tiny hand reaching for my finger.  We walk.  We bump into people…and things.  Braeden lets go.  Braeden goes.  My mind goes.

How do you teach a toddler to stay with you?  When does one realize that it’s a scary world out there and I want to be by mommy and daddy?  Should I give him an ultimatum? (hold my hand or else…)  Maybe just strap him in the stroller so he can’t run away?  I can’t carry him the whole time can I?  Do I let him run off and keep a safe distance?  Will he get scared and want to stay with me?  Do I want him to feel scared?  My thoughts race.  My blood rushes.  I can’t.

“Braeden!”  I chase him down.  Squatting, our eyes meet.  “You have to hold my hand!”  Reluctantly he reaches for my finger.  We continue walking through the treacherous mall.  We walk.  We bump into people…and things.  Braeden squeezing the life out of my finger.  I’m smiling.  Feeling safe.  Again, he lets go.  He goes.  I go.  But this time he stops.  He stops by daddy.

“Daddy” as he looks up.  That tiny hand reaches for daddy’s finger.  I start to walk.  “Oohhh!”  he tries to catch up to me, dragging daddy.  “Ooohh!”  That tiny hand reaches for mommy’s finger.  We look at each other.  Smile.

We continue walking through the treacherous mall.  We walk.  We bump into people…and things.  Braeden between mommy and daddy.  Holding an index and pinky.  Holding our hearts.

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