Monday, August 31, 2015

Parenthood: Week 116 – One Of The Happiest Moments

Ollie stood in the hallway, tears flowing down his cheeks with a look of intense sadness and confusion on his face.

Most of the time when Ollie wakes up from his nap, he is a good mood, often being goofy, rolling around in his crib covering his head with his blanket. Every so often, he wakes up in a bad mood and this was one of those days.

I was home alone with Ollie when I heard his screams. I opened the door and tried to calm him down. He asked for me to put up the curtains and then immediately screamed that he wanted them down when I raised them. Ollie wanted to get out of the crib, but he didn’t want me to pick him up. He was discombobulated and he didn’t know what he wanted.

I reached towards him and moved him to the changing table against his protests. The new diaper didn’t calm him down and he continued to fight me as I put him on the ground in the hallway.  I offered him things that usually got him to calm down in the past like a book, some milk, a toy or a hug. With each offer, Ollie only got more upset and he pushed my hand away each time I tried to comfort him.

I had one last thing to offer Ollie that might calm him down, a change of scenery. Against his protests and attempts to keep me at a distance, I picked Ollie up and carried him downstairs.

Holding a screaming infant, requires support in your arms and also a feeling of softness. Carrying a screaming toddler is different. It’s an act that takes a more muscle, more force and an uncompromising stiffness, as you wrestle the toddler to stay in your arms.

I finally let him down at the bottom of the stairs.  I could feel the wetness of my shirt from Ollie’s tears on my shoulder as my brain raced to figure out what to do to help my son.

Then Diana walked through our front door.

Ollie reached up to her and she carried him over to the couch. Diana sat down held Ollie close to her. At first he continued to cry, but then he calmed down into soft whimpers and eventually, like the peace after a storm, there was silence in the house.

I went to the kitchen to do some dishes, exhausted from the ordeal, and thankful that Diana came home when she did. I don’t mind that Diana had the magic touch this time to help Ollie. Sometimes I’m the one who can help him soothe himself, sometimes its Diana. What matters is that someone can help him find his center.

After what felt like almost ten minutes of silence I heard Ollie soft and cheerful voice talking to Diana and Diana responding with patience and care.  Ollie had noticed Diana’s wedding rings and she was explaining to him how we got married, which led to Ollie and our family.

I stood back watching this conversation as Ollie sat up in Diana’s lap facing her, listening carefully to his mother. In that moment, both of them were so happy. It was like everything that they wanted in the world was right in front of them and in each other they fond true joy.

When I think about the happiest moments in my life life there’s Diana walk the aisle at my wedding and seeing Diana hold Ollie for the first time. Then there’s this moment, watching Ollie and Diana talking about our family, our love and our beautiful life.

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