Friday, February 6, 2009

You come before the sunshine

Dear Hannah,

You and Daddy have been sick this week, and it's taken its toll on me. Cook dinners, make tea, make runs for more tissues and throat drops, start baths, wipe noses, stay up all night, change diapers, force feed carrots and sweet potatoes, clean house, clean house, clean house again, do dishes, do laundry...all the while I can feel those little festering germs permeate my defenses. I feel like I'm doing all that I can, and it's not good enough. Need air. Need to breathe. Need sunshine. Need peace.

Of course, it hasn't helped that almost every day this week has been sunny and 50 degrees. I'm drawn to the sunshine. I itch for fresh, clean, non-germ-infested air. When I'm blessed to sneak in such an escape, I experience a release that bears away all fear, anger, frustration, anxiety and depression, and brings back some sense of normalcy. I revel in the cool brisk air, I close my eyes and turn my face to bask in the warm sun, and life becomes livable once again.

Today I was not so fortunate. Circumstances beyond my control shortened your morning nap (namely a political campaign truck blaring its loud speakers throughout the neighborhood - don't they know the only people home this time of day are mothers who are desperately trying to get their little ones to sleep longer than 30 minutes?!), and made you as cranky and irritable as I was. This led to a kitchen that looks like it's been hit by an h-bomb, cheese sticking to the floor and walls, spoons, pans and tupperware strewn about the house, clothes pulled out of drawers and sprinkled like evil fairy dust across the bedroom, books torn to shreds, and fistfuls of hair (mine) scattered like fallen heroes in a war zone.

What happened to our walk? Our trip to the grocery store? Visiting Daddy's baby and mom class? Eating and rolling around in the grass? Feeding the ducks? All of it, gone. The sunshine taunts me through the window as you attempt your second nap. And I am left here, claw marks engraved in my neck, dried snot on my shoulder, and gray hairs replacing the brown you savagely ripped from my scalp.

And I am better for it.

When you finally fell asleep in my weary arms, damp hair plastered to your round little head, flushed and tear-stained face turned up to me in silent, conciliatory bliss, boogers crusting your upper lip and hand resting peacefully on my breast, I began to weep. Not for lost daylight. Not for a missed chance at exercise and fresh air. I wept for you, and the pain and discomfort you've been feeling. I wept knowing my anger added to your stress. I wept out of relief that you were finally getting the rest you needed and deserved. Because you come before the sunshine. You come before the fresh air, the clean house, the answered calls and emails, the unfinished books, the brown hairs, the dinner, the laundry, the shower...none of it matters if you're not feeling well. You are my fresh air and my light. I'm lucky to have such a patient teacher of humility. Get better baby, so we can play again.



Maria Elena said...

I wept as I read this. Kiss her for me.

Samantha said...

aaaaaaaw!! This was very well written. Thank you for sharing it. And I think having a sick little baby is one of the saddest things in the world for moms. When Zara was at her sickest this Christmas, I cried lots. I hope Hannah gets better fast.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the time we went to Hiroshima together, and you came home and wrote a poetic note about it - I think for facebook or email or something - and Hans teased you because you were "melodramatic" - well, be that as it may, you have a way with words and painting pictures - its music. Keep that strong, Suz.

Suzie said...

Thanks Rick and Samantha. I am melodramatic. I come by it honestly though. :)

Hannah update: she's teething now, so she hasn't really "gotten better," so to speak. She doesn't have any teeth and she's almost 11 months old, so I have a feeling she's going to cut teeth one right after another throughout the next few months. Oi ve...

Aileena said...

That was beautiful. You have a talent for writing. Sunshine is important. I am glad that Hannah is your light. We all need something to give us warmth and brightness. But be sure to get your sunlight too, and little Hannah. It helps you get your vitamin D (good for immune system) which in turn helps you absorb your calcium.:)