Heart work

Baby boy didn’t feel well today. His normal yammering on, smiling and jumping on his crib mattress to greet me soon devolved. The signs were loud and frequent.

He started by crying at his singing mailbox. I opened it to play a song and his chin quivered, his lip threatening to push out entirely too far. I scooped him up and asked why so sad? He just cried again, a little less real that time, but still looking in my eyes to say Mama, love me. Feel with me. And so I did. I cooed and rocked and cradled and got pissed off at that mailbox with  him.

He has a lovey, a little blanket animal, that we snuggle up to him as he falls asleep. For the first time today, he asked for it constantly. He carried it with him while he played, one hand always clutching the soft edges or stuffing them in his mouth. Little challenges, the toy not working, the need for help, were amplified with sudden outbursts, overreactions and tantrums. All out of sorts, he just needed, wanted, craved, whined. As brother said at one point, “Mom, he’s just freaking out.”

And it was me he needed. He wanted, craved and whined at — me.

When sister tried to help him up after a fall, he hit her in the face. Although this hurts and we “discussed it” (to make her feel better), my heart smiled. It’s me he wants. When his lovey wasn’t enough, he wanted “bup bup,” to be lifted up into my arms, content on my hip as I swiveled around the kitchen, cleaning up and making lunch. At naptime the normally easy transition to the crib had him crying as soon as I shifted his weight to lay him down. And not a little fuss that can be soothed with shushes and blankies, but an all-out, my-heart-is-broken cry that I cannot stand to hear for one more moment. So forlorn, so pitiful, and my heart tells me what to do as I strap on the baby carrier, accepting that I’m getting nothing done today. Nothing except the gorgeous, heart-melding work of connection.

Naptime: As close as possible to my beating heart.

I will answer his question over again today, like I do every day. Today is different only because I give the reply more often and with more grace. Yes, I’m your mama forever. No, I’ll never leave you. When you hurt, it’s my embrace that softens the hard edges. When you fall down or lose, I will feel with you and help you up. Tell me your troubles, baby, because for you I’ve got all day long.


Linking with Heather , Jen and Kristina today.

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16 comments on “Heart work

  1. Misty says:

    Wow- you have completely captured what I often have felt when my children are sick. In fact, I spent a large part of last night with my three year old son in my arms because he had a tickly cough keeping him awake. I savored the snuggles knowing that when he feels better he won’t have time for them anymore. I loved your writing as well and look forward to perusing your blog!

    • Kim says:

      Thanks Misty! Sometimes it’s not easy for me to get past the annoyance that my day’s plan (or my sleep!) is interrupted, but when I hear those cries and see him reaching for me, the decision is easy. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Jessica says:

    What a gorgeous post, I have felt this often too lately with my youngest, he just needs me and sometimes surrendering to that is all we need to do.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

  4. My little man is so much like that… when life is too much to handle, he needs his mommy. What a blessing to be that source of comfort in their little lives – and what a responsibility we have to direct them to God as that source of comfort as they grow!

    • Kim says:

      So true — such a powerful opportunity to show our kids how God’s love looks, even on their worst days.

  5. Lovely. I’m joining Just Write today for the first time, and I’m glad that I did!
    Thanks for the reminder to enjoy that my girl needs me and wants me so, when sometimes I get frustrated by her cling.

  6. Jen Ferguson says:

    I love your words and I can see so easily how this is how God relates to us. You have such a gift of communicating love.

    • Kim says:

      I wasn’t even thinking of it in those terms until you lovely commenters pointed it out. Gorgeous to picture how he responds to his children.

  7. Stacy says:

    Beautiful! How I hope to show that same gracious patience. Thank you for the encouraging reminder.

  8. Bridget says:

    Several of my friends are now forever-moms and this post?
    This beautiful, wonderful love that grows between an adopted child and mother?
    Brought tears to my eyes.

    • Kim says:

      And you just brought tears to mine. It is a beautiful love, and though it takes time to grow, it’s now fierce and consuming. We’ve been through it together, you know? When the work of attachment wasn’t so gorgeous, when it wasn’t so easy for him to reach for me or me to respond to him. But now we seem to have found our way, and it’s so very real. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Jules says:

    There is so much here, Kim, so much. The grace of a mama, the need of a child, and the raw honesty of a brother. It is representative of the lovely lull of family, ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

  10. CJ says:

    Ah, baby bonding! The most important job you could do. EVER!