Ok it was.
She did both… A LOT. But she also screamed louder than any child I’ve ever heard as hell hath no fury like a red headed child.
For the first several months she preferred the warmth of a live body, curling her little self on my chest with her sweet face tucked into my neck… the tufts of her whispery red hair tickling my cheek… her breath, soft on my skin. That’s where she’d stay… content… not to be moved.
After several exhaustive months I went to the doctor with an exasperated statement of “there’s something wrong… she never sleeps!” I was there to see about a trade in… a new and improved model as the one I was given, while wonderful and charming, had a major flaw. The answer the doctor gave me? “Enjoy it!” I was told she needed me… wasn’t ready… didn’t want to be separated… to take it for all it’s worth because some day she wouldn’t need me anymore.
As time continued we wore out my parents’ vacuum motor… the sound of it settling her into slumber. She loved it… later referring to the household appliance as “her brother” (she called the yard stick her “brother” as well but I haven’t really figured that one out… nor have I ever understood her walking with a bucket on her head for weeks on end but some things you just let go.) She formed a bond with the vacuum in her first year of life equal to the bond she had with me… it calmed her… soothed her… made her feel loved. Instantly she’d go from full scream to stop with the press of a button and believe me when I tell you the sound of the dirt collector was far easier to handle than her desperate cries.
Ironically… we both sucked.
I had no idea what I was doing and still don’t but I’ve come to understand one simple thing… it doesn’t matter. You try your best. You make mistakes and work towards fixing them and sometimes you get things exactly right. Sometimes you press the button that will totally calm things down and make everything better. You hold them close when they need you even if it totally exasperates you as their comfort is far more important than yours. You love them… helping them get through whatever it is they’re working through even if it means that part of getting dressed in the morning will be placing a bucket on their head… knowing they’ll bump into things along the way but eventually they’ll take it off to see clear again. In the end… when you’ve gotten through the worst and can hold your head high for the person you’ve raised you can sit back and smile with the knowledge that the doctor was wrong.
She still needs me.
Sadly… it’s to give her a run downtown tonight as she’s officially “legal” but whatever…
She still needs me.
And for the record… she’s completely over her infatuation with vacuums! (But I wish she’d take that damn bucket off her head!)