“She didn’t nap again today at school,” Marc said to me as I looked up at him in anguish from the kitchen table, a squirmy, angry toddler pinned to my lap.
Crap. Is she already dropping her naps? Please no. I’m not ready.
I try to calm her again. Tempt her with the promise of fresh-baked cookies for dessert if only she’ll eat a bite of dinner. She screams at me, tears popping from her eyes, rolling down her cheeks so quickly they barely leave tracks.
Her big sister slides out of her chair, rounds the table and attempts to hug Sophie. The gesture is unwelcome, and the sweetness of it — the simple notion that a hug will stop the tears — makes me want to cry.
We’re having more and more evenings like this. With this gnarly little girl who seems so disgruntled. I rack my brain tonight. Is she cutting a tooth? Does she feel warm? When was the last time she pooped?
The list rolls on.
And just as I want to scream in frustration, quickly approaching the point where I know I need to put the baby down and walk away, the thought hits me (from out of nowhere, as it has for the last couple of weeks). My friend Chris. The one who just lost her 7-year-old daughter to leukemia.
How vast her longing to hold her daughter must be. How incomprehensible.
I take a deep breath and try again, deeply grateful (and so very afraid of ever suffering such unthinkable tragedy).
A few more gaspy sobs and Sophie finally responds to me and calms down. She eats peas and fish and egg whites, creating a mess in my lap. And as she gobbles down her cookie, I just sit and listen to her chew (I’ve always loved the sound of my children eating, which seems so gross but is weirdly comforting). She looks up at me, eyelashes stuck together, cheeks still wet, and offers me her finger, on the tip of which perches a single cookie crumb.
I eat it. She giggles.
And I think to myself how very lucky I am, even as she begins to fuss again.
So very lucky.