Never Alone


I carry you against me and you are content pressing into my heartbeat.  We breathe in, we breathe out.  You mold into me, limbs seemingly discombobulated and I wonder that you could ever find comfort there.  I switch you from bare arms to sling to harness- it matters not to you, only to me.  As long as you can smell my human sweat, you relax.  You are not alone.

You sleep beside me and they say you shouldn't, but they don't know how my breath rises and falls by you, how my body is stilled by your presence and doesn't move until your whimpers gently rouse me.  They underestimate the depths that are maternal attunement.  You wake in the night that finds you hungry, and always I am there. You are nourished, you are kissed, and you sleep again. Overnight guests marvel that they never hear you cry, but why would you?  You want for nothing in the night.  You know that you are not alone.

The sun rises and your brothers need me for oatmeal and for snuggles and to watch them ride their bikes.  I nurse you at my breast, then I lay you down to stretch my arms for awhile.  You wake after mere minutes, you don't want to be alone.  So you won't be.  I sigh tiredly or chuckle good-naturedly, depending on the day, and I wrap you back on around my flesh.  You are not alone, dear one.

Your daddy holds you in one arm grown strong with love.  Someone walks by and clucks their tongue and calls your spoiled.  But we shrug our shoulders and it rolls off our backs because we aren't scared of spoiled.  You are 8 weeks old and you know you are not alone.

It's been too long, you've woke and been left waiting.  Just 5 more minutes, I think, as I chop vegetables and scrape them in the pot.  You wail, red-faced, with your bottom lip out.  You are alone, and you hate it.  Ssshhh, I whisper, hands coming under your back to scoop you up.  Ssshhh, my darling. You're not alone.  I'm here.

You sit in your carseat and you wail.  My heart churns and it burns.  I talk to you, fake cheerful and loud, hoping that to hear my voice matters somehow.  Hoping that it reminds you you aren't alone.  But you won't be comforted until I stop the car and press you to my chest.  You hear my heartbeat and you are stilled.

I know what it's like, my little one.  I've spent most of my adult life feeling lonely for one reason or another.  It plagues us, us homosapiens.  We reach out, we reach near, but it is so rarely enough; not until we cry, not until we confess our need in all our helplessness do those around us understand.  For I am just like you, my baby.  I long to be known and heard.  I long to be pressed tight and squeezed and to be looked at adoringly, even in my filth.

I know the Holy Spirit stays with me.  I know it but sometimes I need a God with skin on.  I need Him to take on hands to feed me, arms to comfort me, lips to teach me.  And He knows.  Not condescendingly, but experientially.  He too was a human dependent, a human in need of others.  He knows I wasn't made to be alone, for I've been made in His very image.

So let us raise our voices, let us cry out, let us be as babes and not fear dependence on the other.  Let us lay our vulnerabilities low and fight for connectedness.  For our God made Himself man, and we were not meant to be alone.

{topically unrelated, but since I broached the subject I feel responsible for linking to safe co-sleeping guidelines}

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)