tear power

It is 2:30 in the morning and I am “letting” the baby cry.  She has been up since 1:00.  I went through the list, change diaper, give baby ibuprofen for teething, give bottle, lie down next to her crib, tried to have her in the bed.  I have to be up in 5 short hours.  Finally I give up, put her in her crib and walk away.  She commences hysterical sobs immediately.  Separation anxiety that does not seem to be abiding at 15 months.  I cringe at every sob and the awfulness of it all: my baby so sad and awake even though she is exhausted, our neighbors on all sides, my own ability to sleep and my need for it, and then I hear something familiar in her sob.  I recognize her pitch from my childhood and on a few occasions in the not so distant past not.  It is an end of the world cry.  A collapse.  A cry that when it starts is a surrender to unbearable frustration, there is nothing to do an no where to go, no exit. It is the pain in Jane Eyre’s cry when she finds out she must tear herself from Mr. Rochester.  I know the words by heart for a reason,”That bitter hour cannot be described: in truth ‘…I came into deep waters; the floods overflowed me.’”  In my childhood it was usually my mother leaving that brought this cry on, sometimes not getting to spend time with friends or getting something I wanted at the store.  As an adult it was at first accepting that a relationship will never be and later a relationship ending when my heart was still in it.  As I listen to her cry, I remember myself at age 20 and later at age 30 on the floor sobbing into a pillow, broken hearted unable to get away from the pain of the end of relationships that needed to end.  I hear the baby, the short sobs followed by huge intake of air and a long auwwe, repeat.  It is my memory of what comes next that keeps me from rushing to her crib again.  This knowing comes to me in the same second as her crying starts to subside.  I remember that amazing, calm feeling post-cry of still being alive.  I had accepted the worst, I could not go to the park, my mother really was gone for the evening, my doll could not be found, he would never be interested in me, the much too long relationship was actually now over, and I was still there on the other side of it each and every time.  As Ani puts it, “‘cuz i am bigger than everything that came before.” Maybe it is the delirium of no sleep, but I imagine I hear this in the baby now.  I imagine her to be finding the same feelings of empowerment.  Something like:  Mamma isn’t with Me, but I am tired, and my lion is here with Me. The baby is quiet, she takes long, calm breaths.  I see the horizon of self-realization rapidly approaching and roll over in my now half dream state.