When I was a little girl, I had a tough time watching Dumbo. I say this because there’s a new version of it out now and I DON’T plan on watching. I literally cannot handle the part where momma and baby are separated and she’s trying to love him the best she can through a cage. Nope. Not for me. Yes, I get that it’s a cartoon. I want someone out there to fess up and say Toy Story 3 wasn’t a tear-jerker. Point made. Dumbo just isn’t my jam. I love babies. I love elephants. So…. no Dumbo.I had no intentions of writing tonight (I’ve already drafted my blog for Thursday), but I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Opportunity. What connotation does this word have for you? Does it stir emotions or memories? How about regrets…. as in missed opportunities. I almost missed an opportunity tonight. It’s one that I would never get back. One of the utmost importance in the scheme of things. Sneakily mundane and routine.
I got home from work today with a laundry list of unplanned appointments to make, a senior party to plan with limited dates available, the disappointment of missing my eldest’s baseball games this week, and the knowledge that my husband was about to work another five-night schedule spanning the weekend. Fun stuff. My middle and youngest were home with me and I made dinner, fed baby boy, bathed baby boy, read five stories (one several times), and tucked him into bed.
He wasn’t having any of it.
Little one stood up in bed and proceeded to wail. Not cry. Wail. He wailed as if he were cold and afraid. I could here him call out “Momma!” several times. My daughter went into his room and gave him the lovey he had dropped on the floor. She told him it was “night-night” time… all to no avail. “I’m tired”, I thought. “Maybe if I just ignore his crying…”. Something about his tone drew me to him. He wasn’t being difficult. He NEEDED me.
The first image I had of him, his little chubby hands were reaching for me. I picked him up and could feel warm tears on his cheeks… as tired as I was, there was no exasperation or impatience to be found in me. He wanted the blinds open. “Help. Help me. Moon.” he said. I opened the blinds and he smiled at the clouds. Little one rested his cheek against mine and I could feel his breath coming out the side of his pacifier. I rocked him but didn’t sing. He rested his head on me and could smell his freshly washed little curls.
My mind went back to when I first brought him home. I could picture rocking that tiny newborn with his head resting the same way, but so much smaller and lighter… I also remembered holding my other two this way. It was almost surreal as if it was just yesterday but yet so long ago. As if a weight been lifted, all those concerns and disappointments from the day faded and I realized that I could have missed this opportunity to be there for my child.
Opportunity may come in many forms. It may seem routine, trite, insignificant. The chance to brighten someone’s day when you’re not even aware they’re struggling. The dream you have to start something new. Take it or leave it, but chance having regrets. For me, it was a baby calling out for his mama when she just wanted to rest. My baby… baby mine.
Baby mine, don’t you cry.
Baby mine dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.