Baby girl was sick this week, skin hot with fever as she lay in my arms.
It hurts a mother's heart to see her baby that way. My usually cheerful baby was a burning snotty drooling mess who wanted only to be held, always held, and there was little other comfort I could give her so I did. For two days I held her, carried her, laid with her, listened to her breathe, watching and waiting for that fever to break. During the day she was in my arms. At night she slept on my chest. There were stretches of inconsolable crying (hers) and far too little sleep (mine). It felt like those early weeks again - they seem so long ago now - when the rest of the world faded away for a while. Just us, skin to warm skin.
It was a unexpected rest for us, waiting for her to feel better. The boys were quieter. We stayed in, drew pictures, read so very many good books. I made meals but most other things were left quietly aside as I sat in my Christmas-present-to-myself chair, rocking my fever-warmed baby as she dozed on and off. I rocked and prayed, rocked and prayed, arms full and little else I could do. It was good to rest, in a way.
Sometimes I feel that way about nursing my little ones. Too often we give birth and then feel the pressure, whether internal or external, to get back on our feet - dishes, laundry, everything else - without giving our bodies the rest they need. But no one else in this house can breastfeed my baby. That's all me, love. She cries and I sit, put my feet up, graze her forehead with my kisses as she suckles. Rest. She demands it of me and I can only comply.
And yet still there are moments when I balk at the task. My body wants to curl in on itself, be alone and untouched for some small span of time that somehow never feels quite long enough, and then I feel ashamed. I should be grateful. I am grateful. So much so that some days bring tears to my eyes just watching them - just watching them! - because how could I have all of this, all of them? But there it is: some days I just don't want to be touched.
So it was during day three, fever faded but her desire to be held not diminished in the least. Just sleep! Just go to sleep! Let me put you down! And there again, that same shame at my selfishness in the face of her need. They are refining fire, the three of them, revealing and then burning away the impurities within me. I only wish it wasn't such a very (life)long process.
I stepped back, accepted what was, and we rested for another day.
She slowly regained her cheerful disposition along with her energy. I used the last of mine to wash blankets, bedding, and pillows, and then it was my turn to recover, slipping in naps when I could and keeping meals simple. Funny how only a small handful of days can stretch so long, but at last things feel ordinary around here again. The boys run and the baby squirms and then we contract, exhale, quiet, before expanding again, in and out, in and out, our little daily rhythms.
Ordinary feels so very beautifully good today.