The sound of your scream is so unfamiliar. It's loud and sharp and so unlike the laughter and shouts that fill you most days.
But it is thundering outside, again. And your scream is one of fear, one so similar to the sound you made as an infant locked in an endless fit of colic.
I run up the stairs and into your room to find you hot and shaking in your crib. Frightened by the noise. So I take you in my arms, arms that no longer seem to hold you the way they used too. Arms you once seemed so small and fragile in.
"Rocker" you say.
And we go and sit in the rocker the way we do in these moments of fear or after your nap when you are still groggy. You press your head against my shoulder and wrap your arms around me. Your legs are long and they squirm to find a place on a rocker that we are outgrowing. The way you are outgrowing so many things these days, clothes, toys, my arms. The change it never ends.
And yet the warmth of your body against mine, the reassurance of your breathing reminds me so much of those early days when all you needed, all you enjoyed, all that could silence those screams was my arms and this rocker.
So I pat your back and whisper in your ear, "Mama's here, she will always be here, it's OK the storm will pass". And you stop shaking and your breathing evens out and we rock back and forth.
And I think of pacifiers and white noise machines and the little movement of your head that used to sooth you. I think of how those days seemed long and unbearable and never ending. I think of how it was in that rocker that we found a rhythm, a way to coexist. How it was in that chair, that I learned just how hard and how rewarding and exhausting motherhood can be.
It was in that rocker that I sat in the weeks before you were born and imagined all these moments with you the sweet lullabies and the story times. I didn't see these harder moments. I didn't see the unending crying or the sleepless nights or the cold winter afternoons rocking and hoping and sobbing.
And these days, those memories are dulled, so much by who you are now. And those moments that took my breath away are part of our story just like today is and tomorrow is and just like this rocker is.