This Sunday morning, instead of going through our “get us to the church on time” routine, my baby girl and I are sitting on the couch, snuggled together, peas in a pod of pillows and blankets. She is snoozing away, sleeping off what I have diagnosed as nausea, an over-supply of snot, and generalized yucky-ness. She wakes up every now and then, usually from an inconsiderate noise, and tries to blink herself back into this world. After a few eyelid flutters and squints that try to set the world back on its axis, she gives up on seeing straight and drifts off again, back into a much more stable universe.
How quickly they get sick, I think to myself. Last night, just 12 hours ago, she was enjoying her set of back-to-back-to-back timeouts way too much. Just 12 short hours ago, she was looking at me with those coaxing eyes that say, “I know you want to be mad mama, but you really want to smile with me. Turn up the corners, mama.” Oh, child.
Now, she sits next to me, breathing steadily through necessary slumber. How sick is she? I’m staring at her, wondering, What is my gut saying to me? People always say, listen to your gut. Well, she’s sleeping a lot and that’s rare, she hates sleep. She’s nauseated, but that could be from anything from snot to the slight overdose of gas medicine to any number of things she ate yesterday, food or otherwise. She’s warm, but she’s been warmer. What would Mom and Dad do?
Has someone marketed that bracelet–WWMADD?
Well, this certainly doesn’t seem to be an emergency or urgent. For now, I think I’ll let her sleep this off. Now, what about medicine? Should I give her anything?…
She has no idea that a bevy of decisions are being made on her account. She’s just wondering when I’ll stop moving–sit still, Mama!
I kiss her flushed forehead. I remember that at the height of crying after one of her head’s encounters with some object, I kissed her and said something like, “It’s okay, baby, mama’s here. A mama’s kiss has special powers, don’t you know?”
I know that a kiss cannot cure. I know that a kiss conveys that which medicine cannot:
I am here. I love you.
There is a couple that I visit who have been married long enough to have their picture on a Smucker’s strawberry jelly jar and shown on TV. Before the husband leaves to run errands, he will walk over to the couch where his wife is sitting, lean over and kiss her, and then kiss her again for emphasis. Everytime.
I will be back. I love you.
I remember driving my grandmother and my cousins to the funeral home for our great-grandmother’s service. We were running a little late and my cousins came to the consensus that my foot was the heaviest and therefore I should be the one to drive. I think it was the last time we were all in the same car together, before life furthered the distance between us all.
At the funeral home, I remember seeing my grandmother lean over and kiss her mother’s forehead.
We will see each other again. I love you.
Read more from Stephanie Little Coyne at her blog.