Oh Sweet little girl that she is, she had to learn a hard lesson last night.
Addie, our darling girl whose smiles will melt the coldest of soul is at this moment by far our most… exuberant, curious, and perhaps persistent member of our family. She has been in the midst of a very exciting time in her life. At just past one year she has made the awesome discovery of objects fitting within/under/through other objects and thus has been having a fantastic time as we chase, retrieve, and reprimand her efforts of exploration.
Of course one such object in particular seems to be most convenient for such experiments; her pacifier.
Yes, her pacifier (a.k.a. binky in our house) has ended up in a myriad of places these last few weeks. And slowly for one reason or another the numbers which were quite sustainable at first, have dwindled down to just one. I imagine some may be found at a later date in our distant future. Perhaps when we move or when I clean out the refrigerator (though I am sure I have looked there a time or two already.) But as of yesterday our last binky went missing. Oh sure we looked; in the garbage, and under the couch, in the cupboards, and under her brother’s beds. We looked behind the shoe rack, and in her toy basket. Under covers, blankets and pillows. In laundry baskets and yes, in the refrigerator. But no, no pacifier to be found. We finally gave up and rested in the hope it would turn up. It did. In the toilet.
Yes, this has been the fate of other pacifiers too. I should have known. This however is not a place where I can retrieve it and feel good about it going back in her mouth no matter how long I boil it. And so we found ourselves up a river without a binky. Being a holiday also meant the only local stores in town that carried “her brand” were closed. So, as bedtime approached and a little one began to yawn and search for her comfort I began to get a little more frantic. I wondered if she would make it. I wondered if I would make it.
I knew it would be a hard night. As we nursed down, she would drop off and look for her precious comfort and it was not there. She would cry. She got mad, I’m sure presuming I was holding out on her for some cruel game. As her screams escalated we both became inconsolable. More like two people in an argument than a mother and daughter. She pushed and pulled, I tried to be calm… I tried to sing, to drown out the cry. This indifference (as she may have perceived it) to her plight only made her angrier and brought her cry to an octave above the sound barrier.
I lay her on a rug and I walk away to breath. I fight with my internal self and cannot reason out why she should be SO upset. Long inhale, long exhale. Her cry ringing in my ears.
I turn and look at her curled on the floor and I pray, “Lord, help me love her, help me comfort her.”
The answer comes quick and I scoop her up and pull her close to me. I can see. I see my own life frustration in her. I see this is her first hard lesson. I ache inside that she must experience it so soon.
I bring her ear near my mouth and quietly say, ” I know this is so hard, but we will get through it. I am here, I am with you.” Not certain she even hears, I repeat these words over and over.
I pray within my heart for more patience and more grace. And the words flow into her ear, “We can do this, it will be okay.” Finally a pause and a heavy sigh. She whimpers a little more and I speak softly to her. She signs that she wants to nurse and I rock and she drinks deep. She is finally comforted and falls asleep.
I didn’t know for how long she would stay that way, but as we settled she let out one last shuttering sigh. I bring her into our room and lay her down. I whisper to Kyle, “She is still alive.” I say this not as if there was a question of whether her physical life was at stake. But as a statement to what we have been through, how I feel at the end of a long hard road, or emotional trauma. At the end sometimes, I am just alive.
As I glance at the clock I see just over three hours have passed. It may as well have been one or ten. In the midst it was endless. Such is life. However, we are alive and we will start anew. We have come to the other side. While this is not a path I would choose, we made it.