I just wanted to eat the dark chocolate truffle and enjoy my glass of red wine in peace. And then finish my late-night chores. But before I could take the first bite, I caught her sneaking down the hall. Pigtails high on her head. Pink striped pajamas on her body. Blanket trailing behind. It was her third successful attempt. She gave a shy smile and then put her head down. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be jumping out of her crib.
It was 10pm. I needed a shower. Dishes needed washing, I wanted that piece of dark chocolate, and I was tired of putting my babies to bed, and then re-putting them to bed, and then re-putting them to bed.
Sighing, I scooped up all 23 pounds of her one-year old body and carried her to the room she shares with her four-year old brother. Tip-toeing over piles of books and discarded dinosaurs, I approached her crib.
My intent was to once again place her on her pink-gingham sheet, sternly say goodnight, and let her cry herself to sleep.
But then she said, “rock.”
The nightlight provided enough brilliance for me to see her tiny index finger pointing to the over-sized chair in the corner of the room.
And I remembered.
I remembered that three years ago, after my miscarriages and after being told I’d never have children again, I had pleaded with God to give me one more child to rock.
So, I rocked her. This child that God had given me.
She fell into my body as I fell into in the over-sized rocking chair. Like a magnet, her beating heart and my beating heart met. Her tiny face fell on my shoulder and her arms enveloped me in a hug. I was glad that I had chosen bliss over chores.
Death has a funny way of making us appreciate life. Grief has surrounded my family, just like it surrounds every family. I’ve cried many tears, but I’ve also learned to smile many smiles.
Baby Girl is named after my husband’s younger sister. And in memory of her untimely and much-too-early death I will choose to cherish the “here & now” of my daughter instead of worry over the list of to-dos. Life is fragile. We aren’t promised tomorrow.
After two miscarriages, I was told I would probably never have children again. But Baby Girl is proof that dreams do come true. And in honor of this grace-given gift, I will choose to cherish “the here & now” of my daughter instead of worry over the list of to-dos.
The dishes can wait. The weeks worth of soiled clothing lurking in laundry baskets can wait another day. And the shower can wait. Why worry about shining the sink when I can breathe in the fragrance of my child? Because this moment- it’s something I’ll never get back.
So when Baby Girl says, “rock” I will rock.
I’ve learned that cherish is a choice. Sometimes it is hard. Cherishing takes effort; it goes against our nature of productivity, worry, and selfishness.
It means we have to stop. It means we have to be still.
It means we get to rock.
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