Rockabye Baby

A few minutes ago, my baby’s screams lit up the monitor.  I found her writhing in her bassinet, eyes shut tight, whimpering between screams.  Do babies have nightmares? What do they fear?

When I scooped her up, she nuzzled her face in my neck, and I rocked her back to a more pleasant dreamland.   As I lingered in the rocker, gazing at her puffed cheeks, my mind slipped back to another November, another rocking chair.

My sister and I were roommates in 1999 when she adopted a five-year-old girl from an impoverished orphanage in Eastern Europe.  Of all the images and emotions that linger from the two years I spent with them, it’s the rocking that still tugs at me:

Rocking 

Lilly has no use for the rocking chair,

a twisted wicker gift for a new mom who missed

the crying infant nights, who missed

the baby clinging to her breast as the

sun rose on shattered sleep.

Lilly did not know to miss the

soft motion that massages fears.

Come dusk, Lilly rocks herself,

forth and back, her small body whipping

faster than a mother’s pulse.

Come midnight, Lilly takes to the floor

letting the motion of her body

collapse her sleepless form.

We cannot touch this rocking.

On these nights, she is her own mother

Clinging to the raging in her breast.

Advent started early this year. It’s a season of expectation, of hoping for good things from small forms.  Baby Jesus was lucky.  He was adored, not just by angels and shepherds, but by a mother who wrapped him tight. A mother who searched desperately when he went missing and stood final vigil at his passing.  When it seemed that even the Father withdrew, Mary’s presence must have told him that he was never truly alone.  I believe the garden story, that Jesus somehow came to understand the pain of children (of all ages) who rock themselves to sleep.  And if he is able to comfort us, we can also thank Mary for comforting him first.

 

 

 

Deborah

Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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11 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    Just lovely. Thanks.

  2. Breena says:

    This is really beautiful. Thanks.

  3. clank says:

    Oh, lovely. The poem is beautiful. I hadn’t given thought to Mary being there even when Heavenly Father with drew his spirit. Thank you for this gem.

  4. Deja says:

    Love this. Really love this. Thank you.

  5. spunky says:

    Powerful. Thank you.

  6. VeritasLiberat says:

    How is Lilly doing now?

  7. EmilyCC says:

    This is lovely, Deborah: I believe the garden story, that Jesus somehow came to understand the pain of children (of all ages) who rock themselves to sleep. And if he is able to comfort us, we can also thank Mary for comforting him first.

    I worked for a while at a residential treatment center for troubled adolescent girls. A couple years later I had my first baby. One night, I rocked him and wept for those girls I worked with who had never been held and rocked by their parents. I think that Jesus understands their pain, too. It’s a pain that I have a hard time being able to imagine–it’s so bleak. How horrible to have belatedly (or never) felt a parent’s love…

    • spunky says:

      How horrible are the governments that won’t allow people of other nationalities, or people who are healthy but imperfect— to adopt these children? There are thousands if not millions of couples waiting to adopt and rock these children, but cannot for one bureaucratic reason or another. It is heartbreaking. Endlessly heartbreaking.

      • Deborah says:

        Yes and yes. Lilly’s orphanage was filled with Roma (gypsy) children who had little hope of being adopted in their own country due to lingering prejudice. I shudder to think of what becomes of these children when they “outgrow” the orphanage!

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