Wednesday, February 15, 2006

crying in the arms of the enemy: if the world worked so

Isaac isn’t feeling well. Just a touch of a cold. Snotty, sniffly baby germs passed on in potentially a million ways. Just as things were starting to settle down here and I got rid of a yucky stomach virus myself, and the house is beginning to look like ours, and the list of outstanding projects reaches from nose to toe, not beyond, this – this annoying little sickness, the week before he turns one, the extra fragility, the warm, weary head, the fitful sleep.

This morning we are playing “open the bedroom door, close the bedroom door” in a happy repetition that could numb the brain faster than a quick sip of ice slush at the county fair in August. Isaac is giggly, proud of his skills, fascinated with hinges, periodically lurching into my lap, smiling and wiping snot all over the sleeve of my sweatshirt. Then, as these things go, suddenly the winds of humor change, and he is whiny, lost, not able to communicate what he wants, malcontent with his surroundings.

I remember a brief episode of heightened concentration that took place not long ago and decide to check his diaper. This action greatly displeases the Master, and he calls out for all to hear of the injustice done unto him.

Will against will, we battle. What would be a quick and simple task, becomes a mammoth undertaking. Limbs flail, promises are made and broken, privacy lines crossed, old wounds ripped open anew. Finally, a truce. The stronger party having succeeded more or less well enough in her mission to at least claim a self-defined victory. The weaker participant is vocal, angry, so angry, pulling away, moving on as fast as possible. Away from the source of distress, disgrace, until he stops. Sits. Turns, crying still. Unsure of where he’s headed, realizing the enemy must also be his salvation.

I reach out my arms and he is there, racing back to where he ran from just a moment before. Throwing his tiny body, his underdeveloped ego, against me and holding on. I rock him, hum softly, hold on right back. I never once think of charging him for any rancorous melodrama in the past, never think about imposing my greater strength.

In a matter of minutes he’ll be fast asleep in my arms, his long lashes wet, clumped into triangle rays below the half-circles of his little, flawless eyelids, forming suns like the ones I sketched in the high corners of my drawings as a child. This is how the impossible is possible. It’s like this. Without memory of any old pain lingering. It is in this moment’s scene. Our newfound peace is beautiful.


judy said...

Yes. That's it, exactly. Thanks for saying it so well.

Annie said...

you rock, as usual, kitty lady. I wish I could be up in Monterey this weekend! Will might be, though...he should come meet Izzy.

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