Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fears Faded

Evelyn was sitting quietly on the kitchen floor while I prepared her lunch.  She had found some old slow nipples in a drawer that we no longer use and was playing with them, sticking her skinny finger into the tip and bending it, then pointing it at me with a goofy grin spread across her face.  A small cry from the living room got our attention - August, who had been napping in the swing, was waking up.

Evelyn stood up, nipple in hand, and walked into the dining room.  She stood facing the living room and pointed at Gus, whose small whining cry was escalating into something more.  "Bubba," she said in a very matter-of-fact tone.  It was one of the few baby words we ever used with her, a word much easier for her to learn and say than "bottle" would have been.  She proceeded to walk purposefully to the swing, holding the nipple as if a bottle were attached and she was ready to offer it to soothe his cries.  Mama, after all, does it all the time and it seems to work.

All the fears I faced during my pregnancy with my son, now three months old, have faded, bleached by the sun of our loving and carefree lives together.  Our days are full of love and play - the jealousy I feared Evelyn would harbor never materialized, the slight neglect of her physical needs while I took care of her infant brother was never a credible threat.  The truth to the question every child with a sibling eventually ponders, one I didn't quite think I was ready to face, that question as to whether or not parents did in fact have a favorite or preferred child, proved itself negative.  My confidence, the size of a small seed, grew into a fruit tree that cast a fragrant shade on the otherwise hot summer days of motherhood.

I live in an almost constant state of awe.  I watch my children interact with one another and the world around them free of the bonds of what we mistake for knowledge - prejudice, fear, stereotypes, disgust.  Living without a concrete sense of the concepts of "right" and "wrong," children invariably default to what is right - love, plentiful and eternal.  If only we all could live with such innocence and optimism.

August sits in his bouncy chair at times, watching his sister as she goes about her daily business of dancing, playing, drawing, and talking.  At random intervals, he is the recipient of her attention - she runs in tiny steps from across the room, arms thrown out ahead of her as she yells "Hug!" and stops short so that she can gently place her arms around his shoulders and lower her head to his chest.  He often finds himself with a toy between his feet, or a bottle of lightly scented lotion beneath his nose, things that Evelyn finds enjoyable and wants to share with him so that he, too, might find enjoyment in her simple pleasures.  His hair is often gently stroked, his eyes kissed, his hands held.  When he cries, he might find a pacifier thrust in his face by well-meaning little hands, or maybe an empty nipple.

I don't expect it to always be so peaceful.  I'm realistic, and I know that the docility between siblings is a temporary thing that seems to harden into something a little more competitive, a little more frustrated with age.  However, every small interaction, every loving connection humbles me and I want to learn from them, the masters of humanity, what it is to be so unmarred by this cruel world.  I want to encourage it to last as long as possible, though.

Today, I was holding Gus and couldn't bend down.  Struggling with my feet, I tried to kick the remote onto the couch or somehow balance it on the to of a foot so I could reach it and change the channel from droning political updates on a news channel to something more uplifting.  Evelyn put down her crayon and walked over, picked up the remote and handed it to me.  She then went back to drawing lines on her blank sheet of paper and all I could do was stand there and contemplate her gesture.  I have so much to learn.

1 comment:

  1. This is lovely. I hope your life is still filled with such joy. Sibling love is one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed.