“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity," wrote T.S. Eliot. To help make productive use of our self-isolation and social distancing, Lit Cleveland is offering free writing challenges each week via our newsletter. The following piece is a response to the Small Pleasures prompt.
We exist, and that’s enough
by Rachel Abbey McCafferty
My daughter wakes up babbling before the alarm. The sun would berising if not for the rain softly hitting the window outside. I listen for afew minutes before getting up to feed her, taking in the sound of her voice. The weight of her head in the crook of my arm feels holy, a miracle in the midst of the terror of the world. She grounds me, pins me into place.
So much of this, parenting during a pandemic, is hard. I miss her grandparents, for her sake, for theirs, for mine. I miss her aunt and her uncles. I know the space is for the best, but I mourn the milestones they miss. I am grateful she is too young to seek explanations, for I have none fit for children’s ears. What I have is fear, large and overwhelming; anxiety, small and pervasive.
But there is also the swinging of the pendulum on our kitchen clock, the sound her feet make when they kick against the bottom of the crib, the feel of a soft blanket. The world, the sheer joy of existence, is wondrous to her. She does not know it is cautious and confined right now. She reminds me to see the world through new eyes.
The way it feels to stretch in the morning, a spring-warmed breeze blowing in the window, a fresh cup of coffee sweetened with cream.
Life is a series of small moments; they don’t wait. They continue on, and so must we. We exist, and that’s enough.
I lay my daughter back to sleep. The day begins.