Holding on

The other day, Leon woke up from his nap right on schedule. I went into his room to pick him up, and he was standing in his bed with his arms stretched out, ready for me. Usually, when he first wakes up from his nap, I hold him for a (very short) while and then set him down. Usually, the moment his feet touch the ground, he takes off running, and he doesn’t stop running until bedtime. He does laps around our house outside, and sprints in our hallway. Leon is a pretty cuddly kid, but even when he is at his cuddliest, his cuddles are quick and are accompanied by a lot of energetic squeezes and squeals. On this day, though, I stood with him right under the ceiling fan, holding him and rocking him back and forth, and for some reason he held on extra tight. His little arms were clutched around my neck and his head was so perfectly snug on my shoulder. I swayed from side to side and started to sing to him.

When I thought that he was ready, I started bending over to put him down, but I realized that his grip only got tighter. He didn’t want to get down. This surprised me, but I don’t get many chances to snuggle with him like this, so I was more than happy to keep him in my arms – and I kept swaying and kept singing. We stayed like that for quite awhile, and I eventually stopped singing and let silence fill the room. In the silence, I quickly realized that our breathing was exactly in sync. Our chests rose and fell in unison and we were in a perfect rhythm with each other. Tears began streaming down my face.

As part of our home study for the adoption, we had to take a few online courses on different aspects of adoptions, and they were very interesting. One of the studies covered attachment issues, and the loss and grief that babies go through when they are separated from their birth mother. Even if this separation occurs at birth, they still grieve, because they have experienced a loss. I had never thought about it before, but imagine losing the familiar rhythm of your mother’s heartbeat and breathing, the rhythm that has surrounded you from the womb. The trauma of this loss is significant, as is the struggle to adjust to a new rhythm, a new pace of life.

As I held Leon, I realized that we were in sync with each other, and perhaps that is why he didn’t want to let go. I held on to him tight. I will not let go of him either.


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20 Responses to Holding on

  1. Annika says:

    So moving.. Beautiful Julie..

  2. Janetta says:

    How insightful and beautifully written ❤

  3. Connie Anthony says:

    Wow. Brought a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes.

  4. Such beautiful words full of grace and insight

  5. Chuck Kopp says:

    Julia, I read it and really enjoyed it Dad

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Ok, Now I’m crying. That was pure love….What God wants us all to know and receive. Beautiful.

  7. Chris says:

    So beautiful. I do not even have words….

  8. Batya Dashefsky says:

    can’t wait to see all of you

  9. Laura Blystra says:

    Beautiful Julie. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. Nomi PB says:

    Oh man… crying! Love you guys… love little Leon.

  11. Chuck Kopp says:

    Your close-up look at your loving relationship with your baby Leon was warm and compelling. It is a moving window on your emotional motherly instincts and spiritual commitment to being the very best mother you can possibly be. It is ingenuous and bereft of all the paraphernalia that some modern households have come to think indispensable and addicting. These gadgets may all have their place in the 21st century like the mechanical rocking beds, the distracting toys that merely occupy babies but can never replace or supplant the hug and embrace of an “in sync” heart and heave of a mother’s breast against a child’s absorbing, sponge like heart, yearning to be loved. “Things”, I believe, can never replace the touch of a mom, whose role is indispensable for a healthy self image of the developing child. The balance and character building connection with the mother, who happens to be the one who is the most accessible, understanding, empathizing person kids will ever know, is what is lacking in many homes. Some may think that what seems to be a constant one way giving of who you are and all that you will ever be, comes at a cost too high for them to pay vis a vie one’s aspirations for a successful career. But, I as an outsider, being a father, wouldn’t for a minute even begin to compare the returns and joys that come from being a mom, when compared to one loving, longing look of Leon your child.

  12. Irma says:

    Switzerland is in tears! Beautiful JuJu…both inside and out ❤ Miss you!!!

  13. Adele Perlov says:

    Beautiful, Julie. Your ability to put this into words is amazing. And what a lucky child is Leon. Looking forward to meeting him, and to seeing you all.

  14. Pat Hallett Thurston says:

    What a precious moment so beautifully shared, Julie. Moving and unforgettable.

  15. Beau says:

    Julz, that is beautiful! I’m so proud of the woman you are and the choice you made to marry the man you did!

    Your friend 🙂

  16. That’s awesome Julie! Miss you guys. :/ I love following your blog and hearing what God is doing through you two 🙂

  17. Love it! What a lucky little guy!

  18. Liz Mitchell says:

    Julie, this was so beautiful and Leon is so blessed to have two parents that love him so very much. As I read tears began to stream down my eyes as well. I was thinking how many times our Loving Father wants our hearts to be in sync with his as well and how anxious we are to get out of his arms and run to exhaustion for the day…Today I sit and pray for your family and the work you Josh and Leon are doing and choose today to spend time being held by the one who accepted me.

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