I had just finished crying over the loss of a friend.
It was 6 am and my daughter, the younger one, was up early laying in bed next to my wife, or, should I say, on top of my wife, annoying the heck out of her, trying to get her to let her watch baby videos on her phone. This is the scene I walked into from my office, my eyes still drying up.
When I tried to extract her from her mama, my daughter threw her body around and wailed . I thought it was a fake cry but it persisted, all the way down the stairs, through the hall, and into the living room. She was no longer asking for baby videos, just crying.
And how could I get angry about it? I had just had an inconsolable moment myself, up there in my office, where know one could see me.
I sat back with my daughter and laid her across my chest so that her head rested on my shoulder. Her body hiccuped out pain, tensing up with each indecipherable syllable. I stroked her head, a gentle motion in complete contrast to her jerking body and rhythmic shrieking.
I spoke to her but quickly realized I was speaking to myself, the man crying at his keyboard not moments before.
“It’s okay to cry. Sometimes you have something in you that hurts and it needs to come out and when it comes out it hurts more, but you just keep going through it because that’s what your body wants to do and it’s not up to you anymore and so you just keep going. And eventually it doesn’t hurt anymore.”
Her wailing escalated, and I didn’t know if it was out of compliance or defiance of what I’d said.
The sun was just starting to come up and the room was lightening. There were toys on the floor, scattered and still, blankets and pillows piled around us. The coolness of the outside air seeped through the window panes just enough to make me realize it was there.
My daughter kept crying, trying to burrow her way into my chest, finding that place I had gone into earlier that morning.
Her hand in a fist gripping my shirt, my palm relaxed and flat on her back, the present and the past happening at the same time, each holding the other.
It was a perfect moment.