waiting out the demons


 Photo from Dump a day

“Slowly now,” I say. “Slowly, baby. Let’s slow it down.”

My mantra.

“We can get through this, kiddo. We can. We will.”

“Mama’s here.”

I curl my body around yours, still small enough to fit – one cup perfectly designed to nest inside another, then, someday another still, and another still. God’s infinitely perfect Mama Plan.

“Slowly, baby. I’m here. I’ve got you.”

I wrap myself around you. I throw my leg over yours, wrap my arm around your shoulders, cup your wet cheek in my hand.

Leave her alone! She’s done nothing!

I silently shout to no one there.

Leave. Her. Alone.

Come get ME.

You’re trembling. Damn it, you’re trembling.

I pull you closer and tug at the comforter. I arrange it just so until it covers us both. I know you’re not cold, but I have to do something. Put something between you and them.

Come get ME.

“I’m here, baby.”

“I didn’t like the Bippity Boppity Boutique,” you say. They are the first words you’ve spoken since we lost time.

“I know, baby. I know.”

It’s what you say when it’s too big. It’s “I’m sad.” It’s “I don’t like not having control.” It’s “I feel trapped and these feelings are too big.” It’s “Help me get out of this place.”

“I didn’t like the Bippity Boppity Boutique,” you say again.

“You don’t ever have to go there again, sweet love. I promise.”

It was supposed to be a big treat. I’d planned it, saved for it. couldn’t wait to give it to you. It was a disaster. And then it became a script.

“What should I have said?” you ask.

The script. There’s comfort in the script.

You could have said, “Mama, I changed my mind.”

“And I didn’t want to do the Bippity Boppity Boutique. I didn’t like the Bippity Boppity Boutique.”

“I know. The Bippity Boppity Boutique is all done. Promise.”

A jagged sob steals your breath. Your mouth opens into a wrenching silent scream. It closes, then opens, then closes again. There is no sound.

She doesn’t deserve this. No one does.

Take me, God damn you! Take ME.

Come out and fight. 

I slowly push the heel of my hand into the center of your back. Harder. Harder still.

The pressure helps. Your breathing slows.

“You’re here,” you say.

Always, baby. Always.

You hear that? I’m here with her. Now go. 

We wait out the demons together.

And I thank God that you’re still small enough to fit.

65 thoughts on “waiting out the demons

  1. I am so forevever sorry that Brooke suffers; that you suffer. I want to scream that it takes me and not the two of you–a Mother’s scream.

    Love you,

  2. Small enough to fit but getting “bigger” each day and needs to be prepared to fight her own fight. The hardest thing a parent MUST do is to let the little bird slowly but consistently fly from the nest and handle her world as the goal. Happiness is getting as far as you can on your “own”, wherever that is.
    A very difficult lesson to learn…
    Love you always,

  3. I always say that i wish i could make a bargain and have IT come and take my life so that my granddaughter wouldn’t have to struggle.

  4. You are showing her every single day that you would take it from her. She feels this and it shows in how much she trusts you. It will give her strength.

  5. I’m sorry she’s going through this rough patch. She knows you’re there and wish you could fix it even if she can’t yet tell you that. She knows. Wishing you all some peace and ease.

  6. Thank you for sharing these most private most sacred of moments. They have shown me a way that I did not know. We tetered on the edge but fought back the dark for the first time ever thanks in large part to your sharing. My gratitude is endless. We are in the boat.

  7. You seem like better people than me. I’m pretty sure that I’m not strong enough, good enough to roll with what my child deals with. Her resiliency in the face of adversity is stunning.

    Last night my child said something pretty out of character for her. “I cry easily Mommy, don’t I?” She really, really wanted to know what I thought . I reminded her that sensitive spirits like hers/people who feel things deeply such as she does, is what makes her great. Mother Theresa and many others feel things deeply and use those feelings to change the world.

    • Nope. Just people. Exactly like you.

      “There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

      Winnie The Pooh

    • Allegra
      Her resiliency in face of adversity is stunning I would think is strongly helped and nurtured due to such a caring parent like you. Your response to her is beautiful.
      All this stuff Is hard but slowly but surely you gain more and more strength through gaining knowledge, sharing experiences with others facing similar..
      Most of all children need parents who love them and care for them. It seems simple enough but their are parents out there who just don’t…..

  8. Your bravery makes her brave. Moved to tears by this, as we live it too frequently. Thank you for your writing…it has helped me through more days than I can count these past few months.

  9. There is no greater love. Naming our children’s demons and speaking into the silence; casting light into the shadows. You took a difficult moment and crafted it into something beautiful.

  10. This is so raw and as others have stated, powerful. As a father and a person who works with a few autistic children, I still can´t say I “know what you feel” but I hope I can at least empathize for you. You posses a strength a I don´t have to test. You are strong. Thanks for sharing this.

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  12. Thank you for sharing something that is so personal. You not only reached out to your child but you have touched something within her and us, too. May your strength be hers. May her growth be yours.

  13. 강하지만 아름다운 생물. 이제는 보호를 받아야만 하는 슬픈 생명. 마땅히 이 땅에서 자유롭게 살아갈 권리가 있는 존재들. 감동적인 사진 잘 봤어요.

  14. This made me want to go hug my baby even though she’s asleep and its 1am. My heart aches for you and I don’t have a clue about caring for an autistic child. Challenges can make or break a person, no matter how insignificant the challenge may seem. Thank you for sharing this intimate moment.

  15. Most beautiful moment of life!
    “Mother is the truest friend” by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

  16. My goodness… I didn’t know the source of your troubles until I read the comments and now knowing this is a reality for you, not a fiction I wanted to encourage you in some small way to continue to be strong for your children and for yourself.

    I hope I am not rude to say that I believe certain people receive certain people because God can trust them with the task put before them that will require great love and patience. Reading your post has confirmed this for me. Ultimately out of our suffering will come good, I truly believe this.

    Your child is blessed to have you as a mother as there are many children born considered generally to be healthy and yet they’re mothers and fathers want nothing to do with them even in they’re suffering. Though your child suffers to no fault of her own she has a mother who would take upon herself her child’s afflictions, she is loved beyond measure and so she is blessed beyond measure.

    You have truly touched me and I will be praying for your family.

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