They called their moms

As I was falling asleep last night, a phrase looped through my mind. 

They both called their moms. They both called their moms. They both called their moms.

Khalil and I aren’t having an easy week. He’s not sleeping well, which means that I’m not sleeping well, and so we are both grumpier than usual but ill-equipped to deal with another person’s grumpiness.

And Covid is spiking in our province. And vaccines are behind.  

And we’ve been in isolation for 13.5 months. 

These days are hard, and sometimes I question all of our decisions — leaving the US, isolating Khalil. Not because Canada isn’t great. Canada is basically the same as the US, except it still feels slightly tilted. An alternative universe. But I haven’t really seen anything outside of our yard.

And, of course, Canada isn’t safe for Black boys either. It is statistically better than the US. 

I think of Daunte and George and how they called for their mamas. 

I won’t be able to shield Khalil with my body as he gets older. 

They both called their moms. They both called their moms. They both called their moms.

A few weeks ago, when we weren’t butting heads as much, we were curled up in his bed facing each other as I told him a bedtime story. He loves long, meandering accounts of a typical day in 2017. “Tell me a story about when I was a baby.” We hold hands, our faces inches apart, and I talk about the time we went to the park in Berkeley, he took a bath on the deck, or drank his first bottle. Before I’m done, he’s always clamoring for more, “Again! Again! Again!”

That night, I felt my heart stretch out of my chest and wrap all the way around his body like a balloon. If the intensity of my love were enough, I thought, nothing would ever hurt you.