The sentiment wants to go immediately to rainbows.
There’s always a rainbow after the rain.
It’s a nice thought. Because rainbows are kind of a universal symbol of hope and beauty – maybe even mystery and/or divinity – so it’s comforting to be able to sit in the middle of a storm and look forward to the beauty that will come of it.
And when it does come, it’s stunning. We sit and we marvel at a ribbon of color suspended in the sky. We comment on the vibrancy of the tones, the length of its arc. We remember grade school science experiments with prisms in shoeboxes, and we admit – if only to ourselves – that even though we know how we’re still fascinated by the mystery of the why.
But the truth is, there isn’t always a rainbow after the rain. In fact, rainbows are kind of the exception. I don’t expect to see a rainbow after every rain. I don’t look for it. I don’t get confused when I don’t see one. When we do see them, we point and we pull out our smartphones and we make sure everyone else sees, because it’s not normal.
There isn’t always a rainbow after the rain.
Sometimes storms end and the sky is still dark. Sometimes the clouds don’t move on right away. Other times the sun does break through, and you’re just not in the right place to catch the light refracting through the moisture in the sky: there’s a rainbow for someone else, but not for you.
After a few storms come and go with no rainbow, you start to realize that the platitudes aren’t true. There isn’t always beauty stretched above us after every storm. Light does not always break in right away and do magical things to help us forget the gray.
There isn’t always a rainbow, but there are always puddles.
And if my son has taught me anything, it’s that puddles are freaking awesome. Read more…
First Mate’s Log. Thursday, September 4, 2014. Night 6.
We have hope that we are finally nearing our ultimate destination. Some of the crew report seeing glimmers of it on the horizon, though I remain cautious about entering into their enthusiasm. I do not want to give false hope.
The night was fairly calm. A few small storms, some rumbling in the distance, but nothing too severe. We were all thankful for a relatively calm passage.
First Mate’s Log. Friday, September 5, 2014. Night 7.
Rough seas, although some of the crew insist they see land yet on the horizon. We fought the storms as best we could to continue forward progress, but eventually the Captain couldn’t go on and advised we relent to the force of the gale. I was disappointed at turning back.
First Mate’s Log. Saturday, September 6, 2014. Night 8.
We recovered our route during the day and found ourselves not so far off course as I had feared. Tonight was almost smooth sailing – a few rough patches, but nothing our crew couldn’t handle – until just before dawn. It was as though the beastie lay in wait until we were confident of a clear night and then crashed in to destroy our hopes as well as our sanity.
For almost an hour we fought. The storm threw everything it had at us, but we fought back and held our ground.
First Mate’s Log. Sunday, September 7, 2014. Night 9.
He likes his new game, this merciless foe. We felt sure of a smooth seas by mere natural justice. It’s been too long. The crew felt deserving of a calm night, and they almost got one.
But again, just an hour before first light the tempest arose again, battering our senses and seeming to laugh at us all the while. He lured us again into a sincere calm, only to dash it away at the last moment. We fought hard nonetheless, and the vessel was strong. We did not relent.
First Mate’s Log. Monday, September 8, 2014. Night 10.
More of the crew are now insisting there is land on the horizon, and on a clear morning like this one I am inclined to believe them. It was a calm night. The beastie awoke once and the crew started to stir, but he swam right by as though he didn’t see. Some are saying he’s given up – realized he’ll never defeat our sturdy ship and determined crew, or we’re too close to journey’s end now for him to fight. Others are arguing he simply didn’t see us, or that there’s a God in heaven what kept us hidden for the night – knowing we need our rest.
I am hopeful the former are right, and I do believe there is something out on water’s edge – kissing the sun every morning. But I keep my opinion to myself for now. I do not want to inspire hope where there may yet be none.
Night 1: Saturday
Our alpha male is gone for the weekend, so this seemed like a good time to start night-weaning the Man Cub. Or as good a time as I was going to get. It’s a little like saying there’s a good time for a colonoscopy, or to go have your driver’s license renewed. Where “good” = “minimal collateral damage.”
Truth be told, 3 AM isn’t a “good” time for anything, least of all trying to calmly and soothingly (which is a word at 3 AM) explain to a one-and-a-half year old who has heretofore nursed on demand that, “We can’t do milk until after we sleep.”
“Oh, sure,” he said. And rolled over to go back to sleep.
And then I sprouted wings and the Bears won the Super Bowl and I woke up.
Horrifying, blood-curdling, the-neighbors-must-think-I’m-skinning-him-alive screaming. You know at the end of The Passion of the Christ, how Satan lets out that shriek-y kind of yell? This was worse. I actually started to believe that I was abandoning him in a deep, dark hole, the way he was screaming.
But I expected that. I read a lot of stories and most of them started like this:
The first night, he cried and screamed for 20 to 30 minutes. Each night got a little easier, and by the end of the week he hardly made a peep. But those first couple nights were just terrible!
I would like to meet these women. And shake their hands. And slip them large sums of cash under the coffee table in exchange for whatever they’re sedating their toddlers with.
Because 20 minutes came and went.
And then 30.
And then 45.
After about an hour of writhing and flailing, and trying everything the clever little man could come up with -
Maybe if I lead her to the couch … Maybe if I lead her to the love seat in the nursery … Back to the bed …
He passed out.
Alpha texted the next day:
How was last night?
Screamed. For. An. Hour.
Remind me to stab you when you get home.
Night 2: Sunday
Late to bed tonight, which is normal for a Sunday night ’cause we get home late from Nana’s house. Man Cub woke up when we got into the nursery, so I let him nurse a little to quiet down. And I explained, like the interweb said to, how tonight was going to go. And he smiled and nodded. No joke.
3 AM: Screaming
At least I’d learned from the night before to preemptively close the bedroom windows. Did I feel like I was sleeping in a green house with a wailing howler monkey? Of course. Was I worried about keeping the neighbors up? Only a little.
He cut down on the screaming tonight, though, and we were back to sleep in about 45 minutes. I can deal with that kind of progress. At this rate, we’ll be done and not nursing or screaming in the middle of the night in three days. Right on schedule. You know what I love about toddlers? How they always mind a normative schedule, and maintain perfectly predictable behavior patterns. Read more…