My baby has arrived at that wonderful age where all she does is give a few simple signs she is tired and we scoop her up, changed her diaper, possibly her clothes, and she’s off to bed. She may fuss over her change or cry impatiently for a moment for her pacifier, but once she’s cozied in her soft sleep sack and snuggled into her silky blankets, the ones we slept with to imprint our smell upon before she was born, she’s closing her eyes and blissfully content to drift off to sleep. I swiftly glide out her bedroom door pausing to silently twist into place without a click to shut it tight.
On this night when I tucked her into her bed – fed, changed, sleep-sacked and blanketed – I was caught off guard by her fussing and resistance to rest. As soon as her body touched the mattress, she was twisting over quickly to push herself to standing. She’d cling to the edge of her crib and cry. I’d return to get her settled just so and begin my tip-toe backwards only a few steps before she’d pop up, eyes peeping across the top edge of her mahogany crib rail and cry out again.
As every tuned in parent knows, babies have a variety of cries, most of which we can decipher by some form of trial and error over time. My baby’s cry tonight was her “I hurt” cry. She begins with the usual “whaa, whaa” that could be any generic baby track background sound affect, but soon escalates to a high pitched squeal that trails off to a breathy sigh. It is a heartbreaking attention getter that means something more than uncomfortable, over-tired or fussy.
Since all the usual props weren’t soothing to her, and despite two big kids waiting patiently downstairs for bed time stories and their cuddle time, I picked her up and settled into the big cozy rocking chair in the corner of her room. Her stiff strained body melted over my shoulder and her legs went limp against my belly. She whimpered a bit but her cries stopped with a full relieved breath. Curious as to the cause of her pain, I gently put a finger to her upper gums next to the two razor blade sharp front teeth she’d been wreaking havoc on me with lately and sure enough felt the swollen squishy gum tissue on either side. I winced at her pain and rocked my baby girl.
She’s 13 months tomorrow, a year and then some and alive with activity. It is rare that I get to snuggle her into my arms for more than a few minutes before she is writhing to get out and explore the world with the fullness of her five senses and pudgy limbs. Drawers are emptied capriciously, bookshelves disheveled delightfully and then off she scoots at record speeds with that plump diaper covered bum waggling to and fro behind her to experiment with the next law of physics. So to hold her still and peaceful in my arms felt like a sweet little indulgence that I intended to savor. She looked up at me for a brief moment, brushed her fingers across my face and then closed her eyes drawing in a deep breath. I could feel her head become heavy in the crook of my arm and her body sink deeper into the strength of mine holding hers safe and secure.
“You’ll be okay my sweet girl. It will be okay” I whispered and rocked her slowly.
And the voice that reverberated in my head was not my own. As I sought to reassure my girl, in words I know she can’t comprehend, I was reminded of my journey through incomprehensible pain, when I wondered how I would possibly survive, let alone comprehend the voice of God. As searing as my pain was, razor blade sharp through the fragile tissues of my heart, I felt His loving arms holding me close. I was reminded of the road I have endured and the days when He whispered these same words into my heart.
“You’ll be okay” He said, and I couldn’t fathom how that could be true.
“It will be okay” I whispered again to my girl, knowing it would.
What a gift to be able to comfort my baby simply by holding her near to me. The pain hadn’t stopped, her teeth are still tearing through her fragile flesh, as my baby boy was torn from mine with no breath. Yet a simple touch was enough to make her feel comforted enough to close her eyes and get the rest her body needs. What an honor to be God, the great comforter to us all.
We watched family movies tonight of the first year of baby pictures for my almost 7 year old daughter and almost 5 year old son. We delighted in these captured memories, but I cried, hard, partly for the joy of their lives and partly for the baby pictures that are missing. Still raw two years later I am living out the time I thought would not come. I am okay. I heal and I hurt and I laugh and I cry, still. And still God holds me, and rocks me, knowing my cries and soothing me for another day, He whispers “It will be okay.”
And I trust Him.
There is one lullaby I sing most often to my children that is truer than all the rest for me outside of a pure worship song. It goes…
sleep my child and peace attend thee
all through the night
guardian angels God will send thee
all through the night
soft the drowsy hours are creeping
hill and vale in slumber steeping
I my loving vigil keeping
all through the night