Friday, July 15, 2011

What She Lives...

Four year old Chris leaned over to kiss his 5 month old sister, Elena and tenderly affirm her. "You're so gorgeous, Elena!", he lovingly repeated over and over as he held her cheeks and rubbed his nose against hers. She clutched his cheeks in return and babbled away as she stared into his eyes. I marveled at the gentleness and genuine affection he showered upon his newest sibling. I could only surmise that surely he saw his mom and dad interact this way. As I sat on the picnic bench holding her on my lap, I asked Chris, "Do you hear your Dad say that to Mommy?"

"No, he just says she's having a good hair day," he retorted back. I looked up to see their mom, Natalie, standing less than a foot away while holding their two year old brother, Nate burst into hysterics with me. "Does he ever say she's having a bad hair day?" I inquired.

"No, he doesn't say that. He just says she's having a good hair day," he answered.

After our snack and walk alongside the lake, Natalie and I secured each of the kids into their car seats and headed back to her house. Nate had instantly fallen asleep once the vehicle was in motion, while Chris stared straight ahead at the highway before us. Elena was quiet for a bit before starting to fuss and then little by little, wail. Poor Chris wasn't sure what to do. I prompted him to hold her hand and try talking to her. He sheepishly gazed at me as if to say, "I'm not sure this is my department." Nevertheless, he complied and gently grasped her hand and began to repeat those tender words of affirmation once again, "Elena, you're gorgeous." Unfortunately, Elena was not comforted by this in the least.

"Sometimes, I've had to pull over to nurse her, but we're almost home so I won't do that. She may have a dirty diaper also. When they're that little there are usually only a few reasons they do that. You just have to troubleshoot," Natalie explained. Amazingly enough, Nate continued to sleep with his head cocked to the left and downward. While after a few mintues of unsuccessful attempts to soothe his sister, Chris turned his gaze towards the front once again. His words and presence seemed to have little effect.

Upon arriving to their home, Elena's sobs finally ceased. I climbed out of the metallic colored SUV's passenger side and opened the back door to see her face streaming with tears. As soon as I unfastened her and lifted her up, she breathed a sigh of relief. Natalie unfastened Nate and hoisted him up onto her shoulder and then reached down to help Chris undo his buckle. We carried the two inside, while Chris trailed behind. Sure enough, Elena's diaper was soaked.

During the ride back to Natalie's, I briefly pondered, "What's the lesson here? Is there one?" We didn't know exactly what was paining Elena so that she began to wail, but after she was lifted up, held and had her soggy wet diaper changed, she was back to feeling and looking oh so gorgeus. It was only moments away, yet for her the time it took to get home and be lifted up and out of her distress, seemed to be an eternity. No doubt, as she grows older, she'll learn what it means to wait and how to do it patiently without crying out in angst. She'll learn and experience plenty of good and bad hair days. However, for right now she is still learning that she is cared for, lifted up, loved and so gorgeous.

Upon reflection, I know some days I'm able to do the lifting up and caring for another. Not only am I able to do it, but I find it to be a pleasure. Yet, I won't deny there are those other days when my heart cries out in angst to be lifted up, nurtured, and told I'm so gorgeous, too. For now, I am still learning not so much what I live as children often do, but how to live inspite of what I've lived and all the bad hair days in between.

Perhaps it even means carefully choosing what I will now accept and grab hold of. Who knows? In turn,I may afford myself some more of those good hair days, knowing I am cared for and circumstance is always subject to change. Perhaps it is time to put childish things away while maintaining the innocence and faith of a child. Perhaps one can live as a child without reason to doubt, but one that gleefully basks in the warmth of surrounding love. Perhaps. Yes, perhaps I'll need to think on it some more.

No comments:

Post a Comment