I’m just going to be honest.
Sometimes I play opossum, so my husband will get up and rock our ten-month-old child back to sleep. Sometimes when she’s crying, rather than comforting her, for a moment I want to close the bedroom door and write in my bathrobe, paint my toenails scarlet, count the fibers of the carpet, organize my sock drawer according to the spectrum of Roy G. Biv.
But then whenever I am having “just me” time – even just getting groceries, picking up audiobooks at the library, or going for a walk – I miss my daughter so badly, her absence becomes a physical ache.
Sometimes I don’t care about what is happening around our shattered globe, as long as I know it will not affect my family, too. Sometimes I become terrified that what is happening around our globe will not just be “around the globe,” but that it will happen right outside our door.
Sometimes I care too much about what other parents think (Do I have to keep shoes on a child who cannot walk? Do I really need to brush her eight teeth twice a day?). Other times I do not care what other parents think at all (I don’t care if your kid’s three years old, my child had that toy first! Tell her to give it back!).
And then there are moments like tonight when my sometimes moments become obsolete because of the beauty of now:
My husband held her arms, and in her footie flannel pajamas with the multi-colored elephants, she tottered – right foot, left foot, left foot, right – across the carpet and leaned forward to accept the prize of a dab of yogurt on my frosted spoon.
Then I went into her bedroom and rocked her and rocked her. The lullabies played, the projector splashed a prism of color on the mint and cream wall. Oh, how my heart hurt with the love I felt for that child! I held her close and buried my face in the clean, yeasty scent of her neck, not even caring that she wasn’t tired at the least, but using her teeth to pull up the zipper of my sweatshirt.
My only resolution for this New Year (as my daughter begins to fuss from her crib again) is that I remain present in the present. That I do not spend this time in sometimes moments, but that I can remember that I will not always have her warm body snuggled in flannel footie jammies to hold.
That whenever I remember this, I hold her tighter. That I bury my face in the clean scent of her neck and breathe deep, as in the background the classical lullaby is Canon in D.
And this melody reminds me that someday I will not always get to hold this precious girl, but that someday this treasure of mine will grow up and walk down a rose-strewn aisle — right foot, left foot, right foot, left — while holding on to her father’s arm. But instead of waiting to reach out to me, she will be walking down that aisle only to be given away.
What are your sometimes moments? How do you remain present in the beauty of now?
Image: Bedtime by Norman Rockwell.