March. March, March, March. The word sounds like spring. Like hope. Like the smell of thawing earth. The smell of renewal and something you can taste coming to an end. A close. With a promise, just a promise blowing in the wind, of buds pushing out of the ground, of light cleansing rains washing away the sifting dirt of winter, of a neighbour reporting the sighting of a good luck robin, of a hard crust of snow melting in an afternoon, the winding hose left out during a late October blizzard appearing again. Birds sing in the morning and sound lighter, water drips off the roof and a cat meows in heat. I swear people too are more animated, slightly off balance with the extra light and sense of coming out of the dark, having made it through the long nights. March – skip past us, deliver us to the newness of another season.
You’ve told your daughter, and yourself how this time her new little daughter should be happy in her comfy crib, unlike her older sister who never, ever was. You’ve bought a portable crib for your home and you’ve outfitted it with soft blankets and a stuffie for cuddling. You promise your daughter that you’ll assist with this crib-sleeping project and both of you – well all three of you are successful, and there is proud back patting – until one of you – the tiniest – starts to object. We have to use our resolve, you tell your grown daughter. And really it will be good for her to self-settle and grow to love her nice warm crib. Be strong you tell your daughter, who you know is a good mama.
So one afternoon your daughter is out with the three year-old, who does still have some wee problems with that darn self-settling at bedtime, and you are caring for the ten month-old sister and she’s fussy and nodding over her lunch . Instinctively your grandma/mother sensibilities tell you that she needs to be held tight and shush shush shushed with soft comforting little pats on the back, that universal baby-soothing rhythmic comfort motion, with her head tucked against your heart. In no time you feel her troubles fade and she’s asleep warm and safe against your chest.
That’s when you could lay her in that new crib, but you know of late she wakes and looks at you with shock and sorrow and her eyes fill with dread, and her body contours with the first desperate wails, and the self- soothing idea becomes ridiculous. You decide there in your own soft chair, that your daughter can and should deal with all that, but really you could also use a tiny nap, and how special these moments of peace are, how comforting it is for both of you to have your hearts meshed together this way.