I left the house wanting to outrun the feeling of being needed beyond my ability to give. Never did I imagine how hard it would be to have two sets of aching ears needing medication, two runny noses needing to be cleaned, two sick babies needing to be held. I never imagined having to decide who needed me more, the whimpering infant who has no identity, no sense of comfort, apart from me? Or the weepy toddler whose very notion of comfort has been learned resting on my chest, and who is too young to summon it yet on his own? I simply could not say once more, "Baby, I can't hold you right now," in response to his little outstretched arms. It's not in my nature to deny my children what they need.
So I walked. And I talked - to myself for a bit, remembering that children are not harmed by learning to be part of a whole. That there are more advantages to having a brother than disadvantages. That, thankfully, I will remember this much more clearly than they will. And that they do have what they need. I have high expectations of myself as a parent. Even if he did watch too much t.v. and wasn't held as much as he wanted today, Asher was held. He knows I love him. Silas does, too, and it's imperative that Silas learns I will comfort him when he is in pain. Everyone got what they needed today, though no one got all they wanted, myself included.
Then I talked to God. Rather, God and I talked to each other. I was reminded that His mercies are new every morning, that my life - and my children - are in His hands. I asked for some things for myself, some things for others, but mostly I was reminded of what I had - babies to hold and nurture, and a partner with whom I share the joy and burden of daily life. And I felt the day slipping behind me.
I walked home in silence. In my mind and in the neighborhood, the quiet of the night settled in. I watched the glow of lamps and televisions from living room windows, and found comfort in my neighbors' comfort of being at home. In my own home, lamps lit the living room and I heard only the sound of running water from the sound machine, as my two exhausted babies were finally asleep.
This evening we are all resting in the silence that we need. By tomorrow, we'll be ready to greet the sun.