Looking Up: Remembering Whose We Are

crib***Note: The poem and accompanying thoughts below are the very first blog post I ever wrote. I wrote it about three and half years ago and a few blogging attempts ago. I came across it as I was trying to clean up some files and decided to share it here. While my son no longer sleeps in a crib and now enjoys sleeping in hotels, I think the sentiment expressed of remembering where we are in the world when we feel lost are still valid. It is a great joy, in the midst of moments of feeling lost, to look up and remember our beloved place in the world.***

A few nights ago, we spent the night in a hotel while I was at an event for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Staying in a hotel makes putting the kids to bed a bit difficult as they must sleep in the same space, a different space than the ones to which they are accustomed. Sophia loves this, it means that she gets to watch TV and sleep in a queen sized bed all by herself. My son, Quinn, on the other hand, doesn’t really know what to make of it. He normally requires a lot of work to put down, having to be reassured time and time again that we are not going to leave him in this strange space by himself.

As I was working with him to get him to drift off, I was able to watch what he does in a new way. The light in the hotel room was much brighter than the pitch black that is the norm for his room at night. As I watched him work to find a place and rest and comfort I thought about how my own struggles are grown up versions of his own. In the following poem, I tried to convey what it was that I was thinking about while I watched him.

I watch him
Squeezing and squirming
Working and straining
Trying to find that place of comfort
In a sea of space where he feels alone
His companions are there
And he reaches for them and is reassured

He rises, making sure of my watching him
I reach out, my arm stretched tight against the side of his world
And place the weight of my palm on the small of his back
Letting him know that I am there
His head drops back and he works back towards comfort
Finally he breathes deep and stirs no more
His back softly rising with the fabric of existence
Moving in and out of his lungs

I am no different
I  look in a lonely world comfort to find
Finding my companions I seek the boundaries
I strive and struggle
Squeeze and squirm
Losing myself in work and the toil of it all
Until finally I look up and make sure that I too am being watched

It is the constant reminder
That the hand on my back is connected to the smile
On the face of the one who sits both in and out of my world
And that smile is for me
It is comfort that all is well and shall be well
If only I will remember to look up

I hope that we can remember to look up and see that smile. It’s there for all of us, you know.

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