The Thread 2: How We’re All Connected

prayerI wrote something called “The Thread” a while ago, and I was reminded of it last night before I went to bed. I was perusing Facebook (the world’s largest time suck) and reviewing the day’s news feed. I came across “Prayers for Kylie,” a page I religiously look for as it follows the journey of a little girl battling Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. Her family, their faith, and Kylie’s ability to endure all of this medical treatment and torture crushes my heart. Seeing her little body ravaged by scars and hearing that now she “jumps and cries” anytime someone touches her when she’s unprepared, makes my heart literally ache. I can’t imagine the trauma she’s haunted by and it must be incredibly isolating and frustrating not being old enough to voice your exact feelings. I also can’t imagine being her Mama. What courage it must take for her to put on a positive face for her little girl and speak to her reassuringly even though the only thing she can count on is uncertainty. And the Mommy in me, the thread in all of us, wishes I could bring her some sense of solace, be the voice of certainty that she is protecting her baby the best she can…

Nolan, my son, and I say a prayer each night for Kylie. I start with “Dear God” and he finishes for me- “please help, Miss Kylie. Amen!” And he shouts that “Amen!” with a smile. He has no clue what he’s doing other than repeating words we’ve said often (just like the hundreds of words he parrots a day) but when I stand there, in the middle of his dark room, and hold his little body tightly to mine, I have to stop myself from squeezing too hard. From holding him so tightly he can’t breathe. And although I call him my “tree frog” when he hugs me tight, I am the one who doesn’t want to let go. Most of the time when I put him down, he screams (he hates going to sleep- never wants to miss out on anything :) ) but there are precious moments when he passes out to my whispered singing and I just hold him, enjoying the heavy weight of this gift in my arms. And on nights when I am exhausted, and my arms are ready to break, whether he’s awake or not, I will think of Miss Kylie, and those children suffering, and be thankful my arms are numb. Be thankful my child’s body is free of scars, and his heart empty of fear… As a Mama, that’s what you pray for, for your children. That’s the thread; you hope to shelter them from emotional hurt, physical pain, and all the circumstances beyond their control. It’s something that pulls inside of every good parent, but especially a Mama. She has a bond with her child that no other being can understand. It’s an earned right, it’s a privilege, and it’s a tremendous responsibility.

Although my husband has deemed me insane, I still check on my little man every single night before I go to bed. I simply cannot sleep until I do… Just like many Mamas out there, I creep in and peek over the crib rail and admire the sweetness of his sleeping body, knees tucked up under his chest, feet crossed over each other as he was in my belly almost two years ago, amidst a hundred “babies” (his stuffed animals). And then I lean down, put my ear close to his face and wait to hear him breathe. In, out. In, out… The most peaceful sound. Only then do I stop holding my breath and sigh with relief. It sounds crazy but now I know I’ve protected him one more day, he’s healthy and is lost in the blissful space of unaware.

For as long as I can, every single night, I will lean over that crib rail or put my ear in between the crib posts and listen for that sweet breathing, those comforting puffs of air. One day, when he is older, I will explain to him the reason for our nightly prayer, how she inspired so many, and the thread that runs through all of us. Maybe then, he’ll start…

“Dear God…”

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