Wednesday, June 20, 2012


When I heard her sudden screaming cry I thought it must be the middle of the night. I lit up my phone as I got out of bed to check the time: 11:18. She had only been sleeping for a few hours.

I entered her room and saw her small body, still lying down, with arms extended, reaching. I instinctively pulled her heaving body close to mine, her hummingbird-heartbeat pattering against my chest. She writhed in my arms, still crying. She scratched at my shoulder like she wanted to climb inside my skin.

I laid her on the bed, checked her all over. Mikey came in and helped. Both of us agreed: nothing seemed to be wrong.

She wanted to be close to me, next to me wouldn't do. So we laid together on the bed, her head on my chest, her little arms tucked tightly under her now-still body.

I stayed awake while watching her fall asleep. This girl of mine. I felt so lucky in that quiet, still, midnight hour. So lucky to have her and for her to have need of me. That feeling of being needed drives so much of what I do. In my head I reviewed lines from the talk Mikey and I had listened to just hours before. This line stuck out to me as I felt the cool wind blow in the open window: One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents.

I tried putting Ada gently back in her crib after she was asleep, but before I closed her bedroom door behind me she was thrashing in her crib, crying out, and soon standing, arms extended, reaching again. I came to her. Tried to calm her. Felt bad for trying to escape back to my bed. And this time her cries elevated quickly, as if she was angry with me for leaving her there alone.

Soon Michael came in again, he lifted Ada from me in his strong, fatherly arms and offered comfort. I freeze-framed that image in my head. She wasn't calm, but he seemed to be calm enough for the three of us just then. He blessed her, and told me to bring her to bed with us.

It was just the thing she needed.

Maybe so many new faces and places each day makes our girl need extra reassurance that her parents are still here, that we love her, and that we'll always meet her outstretched arms with ours.

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