Just Breathe

By Erika Hoffman

At my desk in front of my computer within my study, I sit, slumped in my swivel chair slowly pecking out this essay and mulling over the fact that traits one possesses which might be deemed undesirable can turn out to be useful in certain situations. For instance, I don’t like to rush about. I don’t multi-task well. Often, I lounge in a chair, close my eyes, and just think random thoughts or remember the past without any quantifiable results. Sounds like laziness, right? Perhaps it is. Yet, it comes in handy, sometimes, to have inherited this Rip Van Winkle streak in one’s DNA.

Now, as I key these letters and gaze at the blank white cyber page in front of me, I reflect on the last few tumultuous days. Draped on my shoulder is a little body who seems to feel comfortable in this reclining position, preferring it to the roomy bassinet in the next room. A dog at my feet licks my toes, occasionally looking up with worried eyes. Doleful and curious she is about this new visitor in our, ere-to-now, solitary, private realm.

Sure, I could be tackling a mountain of laundry, washing an avalanche of dirty dishes stuffed unceremoniously in the sink, preparing dinner for my sleeping, enervated, hurting daughter, paying piled-up bills, or maybe even brushing my teeth. Yet, I’m not unconvinced that laziness isn’t the best policy when you’re tending a four-day old human who’s gone through a tricky journey to arrive here, to my shoulder.

He has already had experiences his grandma has never had.

Nor will I ever have.

I came into this world the regular way – not lifted out of my mama’s tummy; I never had a tube stuck down my throat moments after birth to see if my esophagus was attached to my stomach; I wasn’t given donor milk: I wasn’t circumcised, within 24 hours no less; I wasn’t pricked for blood tests; I wasn’t swimming in a deluge of surplus amniotic fluid; I wasn’t induced;  I didn’t have my face stuck in the end zone.

And, I wasn’t swaddled. And I wasn’t breastfed. And I very much doubt I did skin-to-skin contact with my old man!

Yet, like this little guy, I was loved. I was cared for. I was everything for someone.

So, if he and I want to do nothing today, on day four of his life, but exist in our own symbiotic way without having to accomplish anything other than inhale and exhale together and occasionally sigh as a thought passes through our cerebellums, that’s fine. All is right with the world.

The sun came up. The sun went down.

No hurry. No need to accomplish. No deadlines. No rush to experience anything more than gratitude. Him for me. Me for him.

My little grandson and I breathe, and that is all we need to do now.

Just breathe.

About this writer

  • Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman is a wife to one, a best friend to about six or seven, a past teacher to hundreds, a mother to four, a mother-in-law to three, a grandma to four under four, and a writer to thousands – hopefully!

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12 Responses to “Just Breathe”

  1. Cora Brown says:


  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    Erika, I am right there with you. Our great grandson is five weeks old, and the connection of his head on my shoulder is so powerful it makes me sigh with satisfaction and shed a tear.

  3. Diane SChmidt says:

    Just the permission I needed!

  4. Choosing what’s best. Lovely!

  5. Beautiful! This essay is a special description of a Holy moment. One that can only be appreciated by stopping to observe the sacred in the ordinary.

  6. Eileen Williams says:

    Sometimes the most important things require the least amount of physical activity and are the most important thing you can do at that time. Not to be cliche but all of the other things mentioned will be there tomorrow.

  7. Rose Ann says:

    I love this, and I know exactly what you mean!

  8. Elaine Crigler says:

    What a darling story. made me wish I had a four day old in my arms, too!

  9. Dallas Swan says:

    The true joy of being totally in the here and now with a four day old in your arms , and being grateful and content says it all

  10. beth fallaize says:

    such wonderful memories Ito can reflect on the first hrs of my grandkids It makes you very close to them

  11. Carol Trejo says:

    Such a powerful story! A beautiful reminder to stop and enjoy the quiet times. Life goes by way too quickly. Thank you.

  12. margaret wren de st aubin says:

    Beautiful story! Sometimes it’s best just to “be”.

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