My son is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever met. The pediatrician says he’s one of the happiest babies she’s ever met too, and she’s met a lot of babies. He spends the whole day smiling and laughing, and if you bounce him or squeeze him, he squeals on demand. Oh, and did I mention that his BFI (baby-fat-index) is the perfect ratio for squishing and cuddling?
OK. I’ll admit it. I’m smitten; but I’m not one of those crazy Jewish smothers, er, mothers. I’ll definitely let him get married (as long as I get to pick out the girl). I’m perfectly fine with him moving away (provided he moves nearby). And visits often. And has a special cell phone designated for my calls only.
Although I’m (mostly) joking about the lengths I’ll go to to keep my boychikle close by, I do worry that I spoil him because he’s just so darn happy – unless of course it’s nap time, and I try to get him to go to sleep on his own. Then the laughing, giggling baby becomes the screaming, wailing baby.
Now I believe (in theory) that it’s important for babies to learn how to fall asleep by themselves. I just have a very hard time (in practice) executing my theory. And so I got to thinking the other night (or rather early morning) about the conflict brewing within me. I was twenty minutes into a “crying it out” session. My utter exhaustion and frustration had given me an extra dose of will power to not go into him this time, but every minute spent listening to his screaming was complete torture.
As I lay in bed, I started thinking about what was probably going through my baby’s head at that moment (he’s very gifted, you know): “Where’s Mommy? Doesn’t she hear me? Why isn’t she helping me? I’m so alone and sad. Please somebody, anybody, get me out of here!” If only my little boy understood that his mommy was right there, listening to his every sob, crying along with him, dreaming of scooping him up in her arms, but stopping herself because she knew better.
Perhaps our Parent in heaven goes through a similar turmoil when we cry out in life – knowing that we must endure whatever pain we are in, but hating every moment of it. Some people see so much sorrow in the world they adopt a deist philosophy and believe that God made a universe only to pick up and leave it. But Judaism teaches that the relationships we see in this world are mirrored in the spiritual realm, and no normal parent is immune to her child’s pain.
When we go through hardships in life; when we feel all alone in our troubles, we must remember that our pain is not a result of an absentee God, but rather a very devoted Spritual Parent who loves each and everyone of us almost as much as I love my boy.