Something happened last night I want to put down so that I remember it for years to come.
After what felt like sleeping for 5 minutes (half-in, half-out) I woke up to the sound of a loud, quick noise.
I paused to see if I would hear it again.
Seton started crying.
She stopped crying.
She fell back to sleep, but she must have heard it, too, right? I wasn’t just dreaming?
I took a lap around the house. Nothing. Officially crazy town in my head. I could feel Davey rolling his eyes the way only a wife can feel the eye roll from her half asleep husband down the dark hallway.
Passing Seton’s door to get back to our room, I thought, “What if the noise was the sound of her head against the crib? What if she hit it in that fatal spot on the temple, and something terrible happened?” (just a normal fear, right? I don’t even know where I come up with these things.)
I decided to just peek in and check on her.
Seton awoke to the paranoid creak of her 1942 glass door handle turning ever so slowly, ever so loudly.
She was startled and began sobbing. I tried calming her, shushing her to sleep, and sending an eye roll RIGHT BACK ATCHA, DAVEY, THE NOT-SO PROTECTOR WHAT IF WE HAD AN INTRUDER OK FINE WE DONT AND I WOKE UP THE BABY BUT YOU DIDN’T DEFEND US.
Nothing worked to get Seton back to sleep. Books, songs, laying on the couch. I tried all my tricks, Davey tried all his tricks, and it seemed Seton was going to hyperventilate. I have never NOT been able to get her to stop crying. Usually just the sight of me calms her down. I was failing.
Davey turned on the light.
Seton’s sad, puffy eyes fixated on our little statue of Mary on the shelf in our room. She stopped crying.
“May-me,” she said. She pointed to Mary.
“You want Mary?” Davey said. He brought it to her. She touched her hands, her eyes, her veil. “Do you want to hold her?” Seton clutched her in her tiny hands and pulled her close to her chest. We sat there in silence for a few minutes.
I suggested to Seton to put Mary back on the shelf so Mary can go “night night.” Seton calmly placed her on the shelf and said through calmed sadness, “nigh nigh.”
I took her back in her room, changed her diaper, read a few books, then turned out her light. I felt myself tensing in fear that she would start crying again.
And she did.
The thought of starting the whole process over again was overwhelming. If there was a towel, I would have thrown it in. But there is no such thing as throwing in the towel on motherhood, is there?
I whispered to Seton–while simultaneously thinking she would never hear my whisper above the sound of her cries–“Mary.”
Seton stopped crying.
“Remember Mary? Hail Mary…”
Seton put her head on my shoulder, shuddered with a few deep breaths, and fell asleep.
I felt Mary’s presence reminding me that I will fail at motherhood. There will be times when I love my best, I give my all, and I still won’t be able to control my child’s joy. I won’t always be able to comfort her, stop her from crying, make her smile, calm her to sleep. I won’t be able to make everything ok.
Mary will step in where I fall short.
I feel so good about that.