I was recently at the doctor’s for just a routine check-up and had my 18 month old accompany me. All was going well until I had to lie down and the doctor did a complete physical as part of the routine. As soon as I lay down and she began checking me something happened that had never happened before. My baby’s eyes bulged in fear, his lips started quivering in anxiety, and eventually he shouted out in his “babblingo” pointing at the doctor to leave his mom alone as he stretched out his arms looking at me for comfort.
It was in that moment when I realized something so profound about being a mother. Even if I am writhing in pain literally or figuratively I have to pose strength for my baby’s sake. This was a very natural thing to happen that babies look for moms for comfort when they are scared but it made me realize that in my own life if God Forbid my own mother was in any pain I am naturally scared, even now when I am technically a grown-up. It scares me to even think if someone or something causes her enough pain that she might not be able to be there for me anymore. Death is a natural thing and it is a completely different phenomenon to deal with. But seeing your mom in discomfort? I am just like my 18 month old when it comes to that.
While my check up completed my baby gave me bewildered looks throughout so and I could not wait to be done and lift him up to comfort him. As soon as I did he started laughing and babbling that felt to me like he was saying, “Don’t ever do that to me again, Mom!”. It is amazing how brief moments with babies can teach us lifetime lessons. Most of these lessons involve appreciating our own parents and their strife as one at a whole new level. What my baby taught me that day was that I am still a baby inside when it comes to being comforted by my own mother, and that from that day onward I have to make a conscious effort to be strong, not for myself but for him.
No matter how much of a mess I am inside I have to show my child that I am sane and dependable enough for him to rely on me. That may be the hardest thing to do at some parts in life but I have to try at least. I can no longer afford to act immature and impractical when calamity strikes, or something drastic happens because I have a pair of eyes watching my every reaction. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever cry in front of him but I will let him know that after the tears are gone we have to let go of the bad and embrace all the good waiting for us; that after I regain strength I also have to show him how to muster up the courage to look adversity in the eye and smile instead of running away in fear.
Strength is not just a physical trait. It is a lifelong process and a life lesson I feel I need to give my babies so when they become parents they know for sure, even if I am not there, I am still being strong for them, and in turn they have to do the same. Meanwhile let me hold my baby a little longer to make him feel safe, and wish these moments last a little bit longer.