Eight months ago, I wrote this on a night when my little one couldn’t sleep. He wasn’t even mine yet (it was a weekend visit and we still had another five days before our boys would officially move in) and he wouldn’t be legally mine for over five months.
“With trepidation I picked you up, and I started to rock you. You peered up at me in the half-light, maybe unsure of this stranger but maybe too tired to care and welcoming the comfort. For the first time in both our lives, I felt your breathing start to steady next to my belly…Eyes drifting closed, so close to sleep, and then popping open again because trusting is hard…
I can never really express how much I cherish this half-asleep you, accepting my comfort and learning to trust a stranger. I would welcome my back to ache forever if it could draw the trauma from your tiny body and into mine. In the moments, days, years to come, I dream of knowing your sounds, your breath, your heart, and your mind, if you will let it be so.”Gentle Wild, Aches
Today, that two year old is closer to three. He seems to get taller every time I look at him, and his vocabulary grows by the day. Lately he has preferred to be rocked vertically with his head on my shoulder, or not be rocked at all and instead have his back rubbed after he is already laying down.
The little guy who would push away my helping hands when he first arrived is thriving. He runs with an energy I envy, and he laughs with abandon. None of our problems are solved–trauma is, and will continue to be, a string that threads itself through our days. But he is learning what safe feels like.
Tonight, he said, “Rock me lay down,” which I took to mean laying him horizontally along the front of my body like I did that night eight months ago. I did so, and when I thought he was asleep, I went to put him in his crib, and heard, “I want you rock me lay down again.” I rocked him, and I sang to him, and I felt my heart crack open even more than it already has.
I was overcome with memories of that difficult night, when we were both so unsure of each other but making it work. Because how can two strangers who were never meant to know each other find trust and security? Through night after night of rocking as he grows almost too big for it anymore. Through “just one more” bedtime story snuggled under a blanket. Through this oft-requested song sung quietly in the dark, over and over.
I will take your pain / Put it on my heart / I won’t hesitate, just tell me where to start
I thank the oceans for giving me you / You saved me once, now I’ll save you too / I won’t hesitate for youJonas Brothers, Hesitate