Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mother's Night

Originally posted at Life: The Ongoing Education as part of the Blog Exchange.

11:30 p.m. I finally finish working/blogging/folding laundry/puttering around. I’m nearly ready for bed, brushing my teeth, when I hear my son’s cry.

I enter his dim room. He’s standing in his crib, sobbing. I can hear the tears and the snot all over his face, even though I can’t see them. I crawl around on the floor, feeling for the pacifiers he’s either dropped or hurled to the floor in anger. One, two, three—I feed them back to him through the bars. He crouches down long enough to pick them up, and just as quickly pulls himself back onto his feet.

I stand next to the crib and he grabs for me, his arms tight underneath mine, his head on my shoulder. “Hold you,” he gasps between sobs. “Hold you, Mama.” I rub his back and tell him, over and over: “It’s nighttime now. I’ll hold you in the morning.”

Still angry, still sobbing, he soon gives up. He sits down, but he can’t help himself. “Hold you, Mama. Hold you.” But now the yawns come, too, amid the sobs and the pleas and those sharp, damp intakes of breath.

I sink down to the floor, stretch out, wait. Keep murmuring. “In the morning, sweetie. In the morning.” The wails soften and the intervals between them stretch longer. Eventually I hear the chok-chok-chok of the pacifier in his mouth, the slowing of his breathing.

Cautiously, gingerly, I stand. Tiptoe to the door, my hand on the knob.

“Mama stay.”

“Yes, baby. Mama will stay.” I return to my post on the floor, waiting and listening. Mama stays.

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