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Tissues in the Night

Friday, December 07, 2007

At 4:00 in the morning, the night was cold and dark as the baby began crying hungrily. With a groan of dread, her mother awoke, fighting off the fog of sleep and grabbing a rag to catch milk that was leaking. "It's going to hurt! It's going to hurt!" she was muttering to herself. But she didn't have to go through it alone. Her husband - mostly asleep himself - climbed out of his warm bed and gently lifted the squirming infant. Instead of rolling over and drifting back into peaceful slumber after delivering the bawling bundle, he reassured his weeping wife that yes, she could get it over with one more time. He laid a hand on her knee while mother and baby shed many tears. When the baby - relieved to be getting her warm milk at last - was sucking contentedly, he told the mother, "Good job," and handed her a tissue. Unable to help himself, he was soon snoring softly until he felt the uneasy fidgets and heard the groans of grief that meant it was time to nurse on the other side. "I can't do this!" she was saying. Secretly, he was thinking that formula was sounding like a pretty appealing option, but instead of saying that, he replied reassuringly, "Yes you can. You have to." After half a dozen more tries, the baby latched on and he made sure the box of tissues was within reach.

When the baby was back in bed, full and content, the mother, relieved to be done with that ordeal until next time, gratefully lay back down next to her sleeping husband. She put her hand on his and said, "Thank you; I couldn't have done it without you."

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