Friday, February 11, 2005

Answer the Cry in the Night

Listening to: Miles Davis, Milestones

It was close to One A.M. and I was just finishing up the previous post when Zeke started crying. My experience says that most of the time he'll cry for a bit and then fall back asleep. Sometimes, however, he needs to be rocked back to sleep and that was the case last night.

"I want my dad-eeeee... I want my dad-eeeeee...," he was crying with that pathetic trill two-year olds do so well. I picked him up and his little arms spread across my shoulders, his head nestled beneath my chin. We rocked and I thought about how to be completely in the moment, to not take it for granted, to emboss the then-and-there indelibly into the totality of my time-line.

When I was working at the mental hospital there was a woman strapped down in one of the containment rooms, terrified, confused, lost to the torture of her psychotic mind. She must have been close to 40 but she was crying, "I want my mommmy! I want my mommy!"

The sadness of that situation tore at me because I heard my own children crying and I shuddered as I whispered my hope that my children would never be middle-aged and crying for their mommy or daddy. I went outside for some fresh air, some quiet, to let the sadness pass on into the night.

It was inescapable. As I tried to diminish the impact of that moment, I considered the children who would not cry for mommy or daddy because they knew they would get no comfort, only pain. A slap, a cigarette burn, a loathsome touch, an affirmation of being unwanted and disposable. If the poor woman in the padded room was in severe emotional pain, at least she had, in some remote corner of her mind, comfort in arms of mommy. So many - too many - will only have the straps and empty room, cries to no one in particular as the shroud of Haldol drags them into the dark.

Zeke got some comfort in my arms, rocking him back to sleep, but it was me who found the greatest comfort. Knowing he was safe and felt safe in my arms, indeed, the safest place he could conceive was my embrace. Everything right in the world right then, right there. There is no greater comfort.


seeingdouble said...

I would have left a comment last night, but as I finished reading this I got the "Mommmmeeeee" cry and had to tuck my own little guy back into bed. Weird, huh?

Glitzy said...

Always such a great read. Your kids are lucky that you're their dad.

However...with the little mafia bubble gum thing they pulled on you earlier...looks like you got your hands full!!! ;)