We sat together on the bathroom floor in a puddle of tears. My two and a half year old son was curled up in my lap and his head rested on my squishy postpartum belly, when he whispered between deep sobs, “I miss you, Mama.”
My first baby boy had just become a big brother. The transition was easier than I imagined, but he had his share of tantrums and I noticed his feelings were swirling deep within his growing self. Change is hard, especially when change requires someone to make more space for someone else.
I tried to teach, coach and guide him through the field of blooming emotions he seemed to be navigating every day. However, we never fully got to the root of how he was feeling about being in his home with a newborn brother, until that moment on the bathroom floor.
It was just before his evening bath when he began to freak out about nothing. Like, literally nothing. He stood like a toddler statue planted beside the bathtub with his bare feet on the soft rug, his face was electric red and drenched with tears. His lips were a deep shade of purple as they stretched over his mouth to let out all the sobs.
I was exhausted from all the simple tasks of the day, and I wanted to walk away from his unravelling. I had just held my newborn through eating an unfinished dinner. I had just wiped bottoms and served meals and have responded to all the needs. I was present and available for my boys for over 12 hours, and I wanted to be off the clock. Obviously motherhood doesn’t have clocks or an office to leave the return to after a full night of sleep. Time is different in the motherhood. At that point in time I just wanted to put on clean pajamas and wash my face then relax for a brief moment.
Instead I reached deep into my love well and I pulled up a bucket of patience. For me in that moment love looked like patience. I chose to stay there in the tension between us.
I began to speak so quietly I could barely hear myself under his crying and incoherent babbles. His words were arrested by his emotions. I sat down on the floor and I held his hands. I looked into his blue eyes, and it was like looking at the ocean floor. There below the ripple and movement of water was an entire world of happenings. I gently pulled him onto my lap hoping it was all the safety, comfort and warmth he needed in that moment.
I waited for his sobbing to slow down and for his body to be less rigid. Then I told him softly, “I love you. Everything will be okay.”
He slouched down into my lap and laid his head on my squishy postpartum belly, then whispered, “I miss you, Mama.”
I stayed there with him for a long time, just holding him.
Not saying anything. We both cried. I missed him too, but didn’t realize it. My simple act of leaning in showed me how we can be around someone all the time but still long for moments together, reminding us of how things are and used to be.
We didn’t talk, we just cuddled and cried. That was what love looked like at that point in time when I chose to stay instead of walk away. When I chose to love well.
Do you have a a time when you chose to stay and love, even though walking away would have been much easier?
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