you’re okay now


Two of Brooke’s horses

Katie and I had been at the grocery store. We’d been gone for an hour, tops.

As I set the groceries on the kitchen counter, I heard Luau’s voice.

“Someone’s asking if Mama can come upstairs!” he said.

Something wasn’t right. It was too sing-songy, too falsely upbeat. It was the voice we use when Brooke is on the edge because anything else pushes her over it.

I set the groceries on the counter, took a deep breath to make sure I was calm, and walked upstairs.

It was obvious that Brooke had been crying.

I sat down next to her on the floor and asked if she wanted a squeeze.

She took one, then headed for her horses.

An old pink toy box now serves as a corral. It’s far too big for the fifteen or so figurines that it holds, but its size is somehow appropriate. They mean a lot to her. They are a combination of Breyer models and My Little Ponies and McDonald’s give aways. There is no hierarchy. All are equal in the barn.

Every night, she puts them to bed. Each of them gets a “stuffed animal” to sleep with – a small Japanese eraser teddy bear or a tiny Dora figurine.

Luau said gently, “We were fine and then suddenly we just weren’t, right kiddo?”

She gave him a small, “Uh huh,” but her heart wasn’t in it.

I asked if she’d be okay if I went back down to the kitchen to put the groceries away. She said she’d like Luau to do it. God bless him, he’d never say no. So I sat.

One by one, she pulled the horses out of the box. She laid them carefully on the floor next to it, then immediately began the process of putting them back in. I sat with her. I didn’t speak. I watched.

One big horse. One little one. One big horse. One little one. And on it went.

She was murmuring while she worked. I could barely hear her at first, but as I settled into my own silence, her words became clear.

“Here I am, baby horse” she was saying over and over. “Come to Mama. You’re okay now. Here I am baby horse. Come to Mama. You’re okay now.”

And with that, she would set a little horse on top of a big one. Some of them were hard to balance. She worked at it until they stayed put. And again. And again. Until all the baby horses were lying atop their Mamas.

After finishing with the groceries, Luau came back to check on us.

“I think she just missed her Mama,” he said.

I smiled at him.

“Oh, honey,” I thought, “we’re way ahead of you.”

Behavior is communication.

Sometimes it’s tough to decipher. Sometimes, not so much.

When Luau left, I asked Brooke if she wanted to come to her Mama horse.

Without a word, she curled into my lap.

I began to rock. And knowing exactly what she needed to hear, I whispered in her ear, “Here I am, baby. Come to Mama. You’re okay now.”




14 thoughts on “you’re okay now

  1. That’s so beautiful, Jess! Brooke is able to deal with her feelings in so many ways and also to be just who she is. Good job!

    Love you,

  2. Ok… I read ur posts everyday….. But, something about this hit my heart! Gave me chills, and brought tears to my eyes!!! I know the EXACT Feeling!!! My Jayden just began to talk 6 months ago!! Before that, it was so hard to make sure all his needs and wants were met!! We have to kinda learn a 3rd language, a 6th sense with our precious children!!! Only a parent of a special needs child can truly understand the feeling! I believe that is what hit me so hard!! U said what I felt!! U put it into the words, like my son, I just couldn’t find!! Thank u for that!!

  3. And in this mama’a arms she always will be safe, secure and, loved without reservation..
    Lucky girl!

  4. Wow. That is really beautiful. She has come so far…to be able to communicate what she needs in a way you can understand. Sometimes a baby just needs her mama.

  5. Why must you make me cry almost every day? Who I am kidding, I love the release. You are one amazing mama AND writer. So glad I happened upon this blog many months ago. SO glad.

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