The Willow & War Blog

The Art of Holding


I pick up a book and read maybe the first page when you gasp in fatigue - dad I can’t color this forever! You're halfway up the wall of an asymmetrical high-rise and the marker is nearly dry.

You make this new world with your usual fury, an opalescent cityscape, the backdrop for your next superhero stage. I could keep reading and put you off but I don’t want to return to this moment someday as a ghost.

I want to do this. Now. I want you to remember us filling in the white space on the poster board with a juicy blue marker, streaking a new skyline across nothingness, bringing our own brand of heroics and vision to the void.

Sometimes, we just need to color and let the sun drag shadows around us.

And people like me worry about missing these moments. About how we can hold them. Because we’re afraid we’ll wake up full of fear and empty of memories on a lazy Sunday morning - the kind parents always wish for until they have them.

But worrying and wishing won’t color the page.

Holding a moment isn’t too hard, you just have to be there. I mean, really be there. Not on a phone. Not with the TV on. Not while folding laundry.

Sometimes we just have to be.

So when our kids dig deep into the layers of their soul they remember our eyes, not our faces illuminated by some small screen where we escape because it’s just too stressful. So when they look back they remember cheesy dance moves and a family untethered from the blitz of advertisements and text messages.

So when they look back they feel what it was like to be close and seen and known, even if they don’t remember the blue marker.

And someday, when we wake up on a lazy Sunday morning, we will be full of memories and moments because we learned that holding them simply meant being there.