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How To Kill A Moment

11 June 2013

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Crying I can handle. I can sympathize and make pouty faces and feel bad. Crying sounds like, “I’m unhappy or uncomfortable and I want Mommy, please.”

Screaming, though. I cannot handle screaming. Wailing. Toe-curling, hair-raising, who-just-opened-a-portal-to-hell? shrieking, I cannot stand. Screaming sounds like, “I’m dying a slow, agonizing death and it’s your fault. I hate you.”

Maybe that’s completely irrational because we’re talking about an almost-six-month-old, but those are my interpretations. Crying sounds sad. Shrieking sounds accusatory and angry.

And being falsely accused makes me angry.

Because the truth is he is not dying a slow or an agonizing death. He’s not dying at all. Even if he were, it wouldn’t be my fault because I would be doing everything humanly possible to prevent it. These accusations are lies, and the devil is the father of lies, which can only mean that the devil has gotten to my almost-six-month-old.

That also makes me angry. 

So by the time I found a parking lot that wasn’t completely dark and isolated, pulled over, and climbed in the back of the minivan, I was trying really hard not to be angry.

His little face was red all over and streaked with tears, his mouth gaping open as he gasped for what would probably be his last breath before he perished, tragically, in his car seat.

Of course there’s nothing really wrong with him except that he might be a tiny bit hungry. It’s late. He’s teething. I pulled him out of the car seat to nurse in the back of the van, and unlocked my iPhone. He got quiet and I checked emails and voicemails, and returned a call I’d missed.

As I tapped the glowing glass to change email accounts, I suddenly felt four soft, tiny fingertips gently graze my chin. I tapped, but they brushed me again like an almost indiscernable breeze on my face, drawing my eyes after them. I lowered the phone and looked down into his big, dark eyes staring up at me – reminding me to be present. with him. in that moment, that these moments would be memories before I knew it.

I turned off the glow and stroked his hair as he nestled into me. He took a deep breath, and I took a deep breath because he was right – there really was no one to be mad at, and what could be better than this anyway?

And there we sat, for probably 10 more minutes, watching each other. I combed his scalp with my fingertips and rubbed his back. He reached out for my hand, and paused to shine that toothless grin up at me.

My mind restored and my heart refreshed, I pulled him up for a hug. He squeezed my shoulders and drooled on my cheek. The things this boy is already teaching me, are astounding. That he is here just when I need someone to help me find beauty in the world again is providence, because he is the perfect teacher. His eyes see things that mine don’t, but when I watch his face I want to see like he does. I want to sing like he does. I want to wonder and love and smile like he does.

I don’t want to harbor an irrational fear of seat-belts like he does, though.

I floated him gently back into his car seat so we could finish the drive home, and with the first click, the screaming started all over again. That particular moment became a memory faster than most. I handed him off like a hot potato when I got home, and went to bed early.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. jmiszczak permalink
    11 June 2013 3:31 PM

    Good to know I’m not the only mama this happens to! Bella does the same thing, and often times when I’m already running late. I find myself often times praying while driving, for comfort and peace over my children ( and over myself). It works nearly all the time! Praise God that he is a God of peace and comfort! 🙂

    • Lex permalink
      12 June 2013 8:04 AM

      Amen. Meatball likes it when we sing, so that night I kept making up ridiculous melodies and singing peace over him (and grace over me!). 🙂

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