I can only hold them for a small space of time before they travel under the trees on their own. I love this time, keeping them close to me, smelling their soft hair and holding their tiny fingers. Each year adds to the next, one ring rippling out from the center of a tree. I stay the same as they do too — in their own ways — while changing all at once.
Ring upon ring, breath after breath, pulse meets pulse… I will be their A and Z, their point A and B, their beginning ring and ending. I am the who says farewell and welcomes them home.
I will count the leaves until they return.