It’s funny he only stopped crying when he realized that I was crying too. I just lay there in the stillness of the morning, and as I looked into his eyes, the tears flowed from mine. It was almost 5:00am, the time that I needed to be up by, to start my day. Yet, I was still trying to get back to sleep – since he woke us both at 2:30am. Probably the realization that there was no sleep on the horizon was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. This morning, I just wanted to be like his father for once, - absent.
When my son awoke me at 2:30 as I hopped off the bed to get him a bottle I realized I could barely move my left foot. The pain was excruciating, but he needed to be fed anyway. That’s the other thing, I have worn my patience thin trying to do all that ‘everyone’ said to get his 20mth old behind to sleep through the night. Tried the bottle of water/dream feeding thingy, tried feeding him good and proper by 7:30pm, tried making his bottle with the water drawn from the soursop leaves, tried pretending I wasn’t in the room, but nothing worked. As I limped my way to the kitchen the pain was similar to the one I felt the morning after my C-section when I tried to walk. I did as they said then, kept walking anyway. Even in pain we don’t get a break.
By the time I fed him I figured he would go right back to sleep, but he wasn’t having it. So, I put on the tv. Another mother would have said, leave him let him cry, he is spoilt, probably they are right, but for a new mother like me, who is just trying to get back to dreamland, what exactly do I do? It was my experience that he would normally fall back asleep even with the tv on anyway, but not today.
Somehow it woke him up more, and he was out in all his glory. I pleaded with him to lie down, stay still, get back on the bed, as negotiating with him to stay in the crib didn’t work out either. The impasse went on for about 2 and a half hours until he started crying and throwing himself to every corner of the bed. It was then that I dragged my aching foot of the bed, slithered my way to turn on the light and plummeted to the bed while his incessant crying took on new vocals.
Feeling totally helpless, I looked him in his eyes and the tears flowed like the river Jordan. So many things were going through my mind, as I cried. Where was your father? Why couldn’t I just get one night off after a year and a half of raising a child by myself that I brought into this world with someone else? Why, after I told him that I didn’t want a baby anytime soon because I was about to start my masters, and did not want to have to manage the two, that I was in the exact predicament now that I was so clear on then? Why was he gone, when he is the one that said he wanted to be a parent, why didn’t he leave then when I told him that I was okay if he went to fill that void with someone else? Why did he leave me by the time our son was two months old to start a family with someone else? Why? Why? Why?
I just lay there, and I cried, and I cried and I cried. And then two things happened. I finally felt like I was being set free. Motherhood has a way of taking your tears, a way of not even giving you time to deal with emotions that are right there, and wounds that are raw and open. At times it does not give you time to think, to feel, or hope. And then, the other thing that happened was surely what nothing prepared me for. My son started wiping the tears out of my eyes. At this point I started to sob. He lay there, and started to wipe each tear as it escaped from the corners and then he started giggling. Yep! He was giggling at me. It was almost as if he was saying ‘Girl what you crying about! Don’t you know we gonna be okay? Don’t you know that even though Daddy is gone, Imma be right here? Always?
I just looked at him, with the love I had when I first laid eyes on him (considering that somewhere around 3:00am I was looking at him as if he was the neighbor’s property), and I started laughing too. I kissed him on his lips and he kissed me right back on mine. And suddenly it didn’t hurt anymore. I no longer felt tired, I was no longer concerned with the sleep that I had lost. I found a joy at 5:00am that the world could not give. I felt a peace that I had been praying for months for. And just like that, I felt the hurt, the disappointment and the rejection make its timely departure from my soul. I felt better not because anything had changed, not because it meant his father would be back, but because someway, some how, my son reassured me that he would be different.
Somehow I got a glimpse of his future and I saw a man that would not repeat this sins of his father, and would one day teach that very father, who hated his very father for abandoning him, a thing or two. And as I took comfort in that feeling, I limped my way off the bed again, and proceeded to get another bottle going. As he followed me to the kitchen, and I popped the bottle in his mouth he sauntered back to the bedroom. Finally he would go off to dreamland, and I could probably just steal about an hour’s sleep. I couldn’t be further from the truth. By the time the little angel burped he turned the bottle into a microphone and started singing to the top of his lungs.