I’ve been having trouble sleeping the past couple of nights… thinking and thinking and thinking. I thought I’d write some of it down and mail it to you to get it out of my head and into your hands where it belongs.
A couple of days ago you and I met a friend for dinner… a girls’ night out at Bombay and City Knitting. You chomped on naan (because it’s bread and all you eat is bread) and yelled at babies sitting across the way (GOOOOOOOOOK!!!). Near the end of our dinner, you were tired of your high chair confinement and begged to crawl along the booth. And you did great… until the very end where you stopped in the 2 inch space of no table and, of course, rolled off the bench and onto the concrete floor below.
The little man sitting at the next table jumped up in reflex to help you. I just sat there. I had something in my hand… and it all happened so fast that I was caught off guard. I said, “She’s ok.” and the man withdrew, took his seat, and watched me as I slowly set down whatever I was holding and scooped you up.
A month ago you slipped on a booth at the Corner Bar and broke your gums wide open… and I smiled and picked you up and we danced in the bathroom for five minutes. We may need to stop with the booths, now that I think about it. A week ago, you swallowed a penny rather than open you mouth and give it back, and I smiled and shrugged and said, “She’s ok.”
I think it comes from years and years of walking people through fear and insecurity and pure adrenaline on the ropes course. I have seen people on the brink of panic and have helped to bring them back to the reality of “You’re ok. Look at me. You’re ok. Now, let’s figure out what’s going on.” There is a trigger in me that plays extremes. If someone is upset, I become extremely calm. It can be mistaken for aloofness or apathy or even disinterest… and I hate that.
Excuse me while I cry a little bit.
Baby, I want you to know that I hurt all over when you hurt. But I know, instinctively, that you are ok. I find myself saying that to myself before I jump in to rescue you. I am not ignoring you. I am not not loving you. And I am not not falling apart inside. I just have to remind myself… and you… that you are ok. And then we can deal with whatever.
I will be steady in your frustration. I will be slow in your panic. But, I want you to look at me and hear me when I say, “You are ok.” and believe me… and then run to me so I can dance the pain away. It’s teeth and falling now, but it will be friends and boys and justice later… and what you feel- that searing pain or that awkward embarrassment or that terrible, terrible sadness inside- is very real. I know. I feel it, too. You come to me. And I will tell you (and me) that you are ok and then we will deal with it.
I cannot get that sweet man out of my head… him rushing to you and wondering what kind of parent I was to shush him away and pause. I get that, I really do. But I needed to calm myself first, remember that you were ok, and then deal. Please know that I’m just 2 seconds behind you… watching and steadying and cheering. And I love you very much. And I just wanted to explain all that.
And now I’m going to go clean up the frosted mini wheat you brought with you into your morning bath.