This is going to sound like a big, fat “DUH!” […]
This is going to sound like a big, fat “DUH!” But until this week, I didn’t realize how much a mother represents safety to her baby outside of the womb. After my daughter’s very first “boo-boo” occurred the other morning, I learned a lot from her reaction to pain and gained insight into what I offer her.
My daughter sits on her own well, but the surrounding surfaces need to be soft. She most definitely still topples over at some point, but she’s getting there! She was sitting on our bed while I watched the morning news. I had been working on another writing piece and had my laptop on the bed, too. With one grab of the toes, she started to spill over to the side. I didn’t think my computer was within reach, but her head broke her fall on the corner of my Mac. Poor baby!
I paused for reaction trying not to give her a reason to be upset, but within a few seconds she realized she was experiencing pain and started to cry. It’s interesting to witness a child feel something new, especially when you know it’s not going to be pleasant. It’s a sad reality you have to let them live. She looked at me with big, sad tear-filled eyes and wailed. She was fine, but she didn’t know that. I scooped her up into my arms and did my best to console her. She immediately put her head to my chest where my heartbeat is and stuck her thumb in her mouth to start calming down.
My daughter is very wiggly, active and independent. She does like to be held, but she is mostly content if she can at least see me in plain view. I’m not used to her choosing to be still and snuggle with me unless she’s trying to go to sleep. I was shocked when she curled up in my arms and lay perfectly still. That’s when I realized I embody safety, and I am acting as a resting place for her until she feels she can return to her world. When she got hurt and felt pain, she associated me with the ability to feel better.
It was so sweet it actually broke my heart a little bit! Again, this may sound so obvious, but I was truly taken back by her tactic to get through her perceived obstacle of pain and suffering. It was amazing to know she still views me as her safe place where she is free from any kind of affliction. As a parent, I know I am not perfect, but this experience made me want to be as perfect as possible! I can’t shelter her forever, but I can do my best to remember this moment and learn how to create a sense of safety and security within our relationship.
Post-crash, I obviously stopped what I was doing and held her for as long as she needed. She stayed put for about five minutes and slowly started looking around the room again until she lifted her head and reached out for her toy blocks. It was over almost as quickly as it started. I am SO grateful I get to be continually softened and humbled by the affection and innocence of a child. There is no other experience like realizing how big you are in the eyes of someone so small, while simultaneously realizing you need grace because you can’t do everything perfectly right. What a special memory to carry with me and refer to as I navigate each day with Bellamy. I’m so thankful to be her safe place, and I hope she always feels the same way about me.