Don’t Look Back

Erin Britt essays

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I was crawling at first. Look at what I’ve been reduced to—the thought ran through my mind several times as I made my way to the door. Almost in response and to the absurdity of the moment, I began to get up but then instinctively dropped to my belly when I heard a sound. Silently, I waited for a few seconds before making another move. I even held my breath. When all was quiet, I proceeded—inching myself forward on the palms of my hands and elbows, and shuffling the rest of my body to make it out of the room. Why I decided to look back when I had made it through the door is beyond me. Well, you know why—because I’m a mommy.

As I cautiously made it to my knees and started to rise to my feet, I took a quick glance over my shoulders: baby’s eyes were wide open and she was smiling. I stood for a moment, uncertain of what to do—let her have some quiet time so I could go eat a much needed meal to fill my rumbling stomach or try to rock her back to sleep immediately. 

This has been our ongoing battle. Baby falls asleep in my husband’s or my arms—I know, that’s our “first mistake,” say all the experts and experienced parents. However, I haven’t figured out how to do it any other way. From the moment we get to the bassinette, she becomes more and more alert as we lower her. Sometimes, I’m sure I’ve seen a smirk, as if to say, “You don’t think you’re going to leave me here, do you?” Or, “You’re not getting away that easily.” Perhaps even, “No way!” When we hesitate, we watch as her mouth begins to turn downward and soon the wailing begins. Then, there is no escape. On occasion, though, a smile appears but—Thank you, God, I think as I exhale—her eyes don’t open and she drifts back to a sound slumber. 

Unfortunately, there is no predicting which one it will be. Last week, we successfully backed out of the room—my husband put her down, while I kept my hands on her chest and then continued to softly hum as we carefully made our exit. Just as we crossed the doorway and were about to high-five each other, the crying began.

And so, as I stood at the door—one foot in the hall and the other in the bedroom—I watched the smile begin to turn…but decided to move anyway. Hearing no sounds as I made my way to the kitchen, I breathed a sigh of relief.

About the Author

Erin Britt

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