I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah
-Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah
It’s the fractured beauty of childhood that makes you cry. It’s the fat baby cheeks that you kiss, knowing they won’t last. It’s the soft skin and the piles of poopy laundry, voluntary kid snuggles and the screams that take your phone calls hostage. You can’t have one without the other (though you wish you could), but you know that even the jam-covered fingerprints will seem precious eventually and one day you’ll wish you’d saved them all and put them in some childhood-preserving museum. It’s all transitory and fragile—that’s why it’s so priceless and why you want to push it all away. You don’t think you can handle the threshold of childhood pushing its way outward from those little bodies into your soul. It all seems too much—the beauty that scars your eyeballs and hurts your spirit with its power. It’s not going to last. You don’t want it to betray you by leaving, yet you know it will. But it stands there, blinking its soft vulnerable eyes at you. It so innocently rips you apart and you don’t remember being reconstructed, so you pick it up and kiss it better because somehow it wants you and somehow you know that’s what needs to be done. And that’s how you scream and sing praises at the same time. You’re broken, pieces of you scattered in your children’s bodies and you sing and laugh out loud at the miracle of it all.