My Ellie is not the easiest of children.
My pregnancy with her was riddled with little dramas - never about her health, but first of her existence (blood tests initially showed negative), then later, of her gender (bad technology left us wondering). She was a week past due when I was induced for a VBAC; the only straightforward part was the twenty minutes of pushing to her delivery.
Within two weeks of her (late) arrival, she began our semester long education on colic.
When the midwife remarked on my child's absence at my post-partum checkup, a time when most new moms can't wait to show off their sweet sleeping cherubs, I explained that I needed the break from her.
I wept, telling her of the screaming, the endless nights, her inability to be consoled, and how I simply didn't know what else to do (an unfortunate experience for any mother, one that Paige told of her own colicky girl so poignantly).
She looked at me with kindness and understanding and said, "It's hard to bond with a colicky baby."
An understatement to say the very least.
I reasoned that she didn't believe she was ready to be born; she didn't choose it, maybe it wasn't time. Since she didn't know how to soothe herself, being close to me - to my heart and the sounds of my body - was enough.
It had to be. It was all I had left.
All I could give her was my heart.
Right after her third birthday, she decided she was ready for a Big Girl Bed. In her crib (the same bed, but with a side rail), she slept all night. Dry. No little dramas.
In the Big Girl Bed, she is up, SCREAMING, once, twice, sometimes three times a night. She needs to pee. She's fallen out of bed. Now she can't find her bed. She's had a bad dream. She can't find her blanket. She's lost a sock. Is it morning now? (She asks this whether it's 8:30 p.m. or 3:30 a.m.)
I do what I can.
I find what is missing.
I tuck her in tightly.
I try to give her every security that she must feel she has lost.
Some nights, she asks for me to hold her. I spend a few minutes in either her bed or mine and we lay chest to chest. She has again found a way to be close to my heart. She still needs this from me and though I'd never ask, sometimes I need it too.
"There WILL be a day when they don't want to be carried up the stairs … But the idea that the last time will go unmarked and slip away without being cherished just made me so sad."
One day, she won't ask for me either.
Today she does, and it is that which I cherish.
My heart is full.
It's a term of endearment taken from the original phrases "A chuisle mo chroí", or "Pulse of my heart".
The movie Million Dollar Baby incorrectly spells "Mo chuisle" as "Mo cuishle". (Source)