April 13th, 2021
The young woman peered into the face of her baby. He was still lying in the car seat. He looked back at her with his bright blue eyes.
She smiled at the boy and said,
“Do you remember me? This is Mama. I’m the one who sings ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ to you.”
He kept looking intently at his mother. He might have smiled at her. It’s hard to tell with him.
She picked him up from the car seat and held him. She sat down with him in her lap. He fussed a bit, so she started to feed him a bottle. When he was done eating, she placed him on her shoulder, and gently tapped his back to get him to burp. Eventually, he did. Then he slept.
We were in a large meeting room at the rehab facility. Apparently, kids are often in there. There are toys of various kinds scattered around. On the window sills lay children’s books: Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry, cheesy Disney stories. There is a refrigerator and a kitchen sink. In a corner sits a comfortable rocking chair.
The walls of the room are covered with slogans. I saw phrases like: “Notice what you can control”, “Honesty”, “Prioritize healing”, “Fight the trigger”, and “Alone is better than a bad relationship”. These were the kinds of words that might help a woman in recovery, maybe. They can’t hurt. There is also a patchwork quilt hanging on the wall. Various women in treatment must have contributed pieces of it. One of the squares in the quilt said, “I trust in the woman I am becoming”.
It was just the four of us in the room: Karin, the young woman, her son, and myself. Karin and I take the boy to see his mom twice a week. The young woman is in residential treatment. We stay with her for a couple hours. Sometimes the lad is awake and alert. Then the woman lays him on a blanket on the floor, and they do “tummy time”. The boy is getting stronger. He can lift his head and he can push himself up, briefly, with his chubby arms. Sometimes, he lies on his back and kicks. He likes doing that. His mom laughs and tells him, “Good job!”
This visit was different. The boy slept for almost the entire two hours. The young woman was a little disappointed, but she was glad to be with the boy. She sat in a chair and held him in her arms. She gazed at him, and stroked his head.
The two of them were at peace.