Most of my parental success stories have been the result of sheer, blind, dumb luck. I mean, I’ve got a degree in child development and I read a lot of books, but when it comes right down to it: my parental victories have had very little to do with the books lining my bookshelves or the degree tucked into a faux leather folder moldering away in a box at the back of my closet. They’ve been accidents. Either that, or Linnea is raising herself brilliantly and just letting us tag along for the ride.
Saturday morning, somehow, we all ended up in Linnea’s bed. I don’t even really remember how it came about, but when I came to full consciousness, I was looking up at her rainbow canopy and having a nice, painful contraction. Neither one of which was expected, and only one of which was even partially welcome (the canopy, just in case you’re wondering). Nea has been very attentive as I’ve gotten bigger, and she knew immediately what was wrong.
“Mama! Your tummy hurts!” and she curled her warm, footie-pajamaed body around my bump and rubbed it gently while I tried to remind myself that cessation of breathing doesn’t really help a body deal with pain and M slept through the whole thing. When the contraction eased, and I relaxed, she sat up and touched my cheek and said, “Don’t worry, Mama. I won’t let the alligators get you.”
That statement might rank in the top five of the kindest, most loving things anyone has ever said to me. And I wonder when in the world our relationship reached a place where we could switch places like that–it’s my job to protect her, to help her when she hurts, to not let the alligators get her. It was really quite an amazing moment, that lasted until I had another contraction and Linnea got bored with defending me against alligators (she IS only three, afterall) and decided she needed breakfast.
The contractions? Led to nothing but a long and cranky day spent on the couch. They were strong enough, they were long enough, but they left something to be desired in the regularity department. And they gradually decreased in intensity, which is not generally the direction active labor goes. But oh well. Even if Saturday wasn’t destined to be the day I got to hold my second baby in my arms, it WAS the day my first baby held me (and her sister) in her arms and kept the alligators away.
And what better definition of family is there than that?