We had a rough night last night, you and I. You had two vaccination shots, one in each chubby thigh, and you were left feeling miserable and sore. You cried nearly all night long. I am almost sure that you blame me. There was a moment when you stared at me square in the eye in an accusatory way and it broke my heart. Your little cry grew bigger and bigger while my resolve to not turn into a puddle of mom-love-worry-mush grew smaller and smaller.
This bond we have is some funny business, you know. You spend every day and night tethered to me by nursing or a Moby Wrap. You experience the world through a Mom filter, which makes everything you touch safe and warm and beautiful and necessary. You pull my hair, barf, pee and poop on me, you scream at me, poke me in the eye, and make every attempt to wriggle free of my motherly clutches. You can almost sit up now. You can roll over. You have a great sense of timing for humor and we all giggle when we hear you laughing at your big brother or your goofy papa. You are growing and thriving and I am proud, but it makes me worry just that much more.
I have these small daily epiphanies of tenderness with you in the rough moments like during the height of your crying last night. I hold you close and try to will my love to pierce through your pain to soothe and calm you. My entire universe of focus becomes centered on trying to crack the mystery of what is causing you hurt. Every sound or draft of cold air or excess light becomes my mortal enemy as I rock you to sleep. My mind races through the card catalogue of home remedies that worked on your brother when he was a wee babe like you.
Mom’s worry. It gives us that distinguished look of wisdom. It keeps us focused on your survival and happiness. If I did not worry so much about you and your superhero brother then the things we all take for granted in this home like hot meals, a clean house, fun adventures, health and happiness would never be attended to. There wouldn’t be a demanding Me telling Dad to get to a pharmacy right now to find you some Infant Tylenol. I wouldn’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning wearing down a path in the floors from walking back and forth in front of the woodstove to keep you comfortable and asleep. You’re lucky, small child, you are deeply and profoundly loved.
So, as you slowly move through your morning with a trace of grouchiness leftover from last night’s misery, I will keep holding on tight. You can chew on my fingers. You can pull my hair. And when you fall asleep on my chest, I promise I won’t move or make a sound.