The doctors look us in the face and they hand us these helpless little humans. And they send us home. It’s never seemed quite right to me. Like…there has to be room for us to live here in the hospital for a few years…right? I mean, there’s food, bathrooms, medical care…TV? Come on, Man.
Our children are never out of danger medically. Even if that magical newborn screen comes back clean. And they’ve got all their fingers and toes. You’re never out of the woods on this one. Their safety is always in question. Accidents and injuries looming everywhere. Forever. Throw in a chronic illness or two and it’s a once nightmare come true.
In those moments of quiet, and those times of peace and rest in the midst of chaos, you think about all those other things. There’s no way around it. It doesn’t stop. You get them to sleep, which was the big problem of the day. Now solved. It’s silent. And you look in their face. Watch them breathe for a bit. It might pass quickly. Maybe you run to something else you needed to do instead. And you don’t take that time. Or maybe you wait. Maybe you see them. Safe. Healthy. Carefree. Momentarily at peace. And start wondering exactly what the hell it is you’re going to do.
I love babies. But, truth, I only miss one thing about those days. It’s the last time in your life, or theirs, that you don’t have to see them hurt. By you. By someone else. It’s the last time you don’t have to teach them social structure or graces. How to be kind. How to be forgiving. It’s the last time they aren’t taking on emotional damage from heartbreak. Of any kind. From anyone. There’s no navigation of bullies or reasoning your way through the pain or fucked logic of ‘friendships’ with them. There’s no explaining the whys of people doing what they do. There’s no excuses that need to be made for why people act the way they do. Or say what they say. It’s just freedom to love them. Protect them. And make them happy. Their world begins and ends with you. It’s a lot of pressure. But I miss it like nothing else.
It’s the last time you ever have full control over someone’s happiness. And it’s the last time they have to put their happiness solely in the hands of another. And the last time for all of it to be okay.
Because then we get here. Then we’re grown people with histories. Working through it alone. Trying to have faith in promises. Faith in ourselves. Pleading to be loved. Learning how to love. Taking on damage. Crying. The baggage mounting up. Getting hurt time and again. Hurting others. Trying again. Making friends and losing them. Learning confidence in the battle. Learning us. Reasoning through and making excuses for others. And ourselves. Combatting each others scars and suspicions. Playing those games of volleying doubt and trust with one another. Being afraid. Constantly. With no one to walk us through it. No one to explain it to us. No one to help us weather those inevitable pains. Doing it alone. Because it isn’t okay anymore to put your happiness in the hands of someone else. And because you can never control the happiness of another. You are on your own now. We are all on our own.
It never ends. There is nobody to look to to make it better. There is nothing you can do to make it better for anyone else. Not anymore. So. Yep. I do miss those days. For them. And for me.