[The second in our “Gospel According to Dagny” series. Click here for “Tummy-Time”]
No, Dagny, no! I was just there. Why do you need help AGAIN? It hasn’t been ten seconds. Please let me sleep. I can only get comfortable so many times.
But those cries don’t stop. I flip over in the bed, raise myself up on my elbows, and peer back into her sleeper. As usual, the pacifier has fallen out of her mouth. Some people call it a binky. We do, but we also like to call it just…the bink. The perfect soother of misery and woe. Kinda like the Spirit.
So I replace the bink, only it immediately falls out again. I put it back in her open, wailing mouth, hold it there until her lips find it, wait for her to get a good grip on it, wait further at the edge of the bed to make sure she gets in a good sucking rhythm on it and that her cries are truly abated, sigh with a small modicum of relief, and turn back over.
Then the cries start up again.
I almost start to cry, too. This can be a never-ending cycle sometimes. And it’s her own darn fault! She’s the one that keep spitting out the bink! Why does she do this if she knows it causes her so much pain? Doesn’t she realize how much pain she’s causing her father, too? Her father who loves her but really needs peace and quiet of his own once in awhile?
Well, no. Of course she doesn’t realize that. She can’t really see me. She can’t interpret what I’m going through at all. And it isn’t really her fault, either. Her mouth muscles aren’t fully developed. She tries, but they’re imperfect, and she gets distracted, and she gets distressed, and a lot of the time the problem is something else. She’s hungry, or she’s got a bad diaper, or she may simply just need to be held close and reassured that she’s loved.
When I remember these things my heart melts and I remember how much I really do love her, and that patience is a divine quality for a reason. A feeling of forgiveness floods my soul. I take her in my arms, hold her tight, kiss her cheeks, and dance her to sleep within my embrace.
And of course I replace the pacifier, because she knows how much she needs it, and I know she’s sorry she ever spat it out in the first place, and instead I take pleasure in all the other myriad ways she’s developing and growing and becoming, day by day, hour by hour, a tiny little bit more like me.