I sit in the dark for hours. Or what seems like hours. Every night. For almost 16 months now. At first, it was hard. Unbelievably so. But eventually, I flipped my perspective and realized this would only last a little while. A fleeting moment, and then she’d be at college or off somewhere living her life in one way or another.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t still hard some nights. Sitting in the dark, rocking her in my arms. Even knowing I’m the safest place she’ll ever be, especially right now in the days that feel so dark, at times. Sometimes it’s hard, and I wish I could put her down in her crib and she would stay asleep. And I think, “Hmm, maybe we should have sleep trained?”
But in the end, I feel her warmth against me, with the AC set to a perfect 73 degrees. The sound of ocean waves from her sound machine blocks out the noise from the highway.
I know I prefer this to anything else — being her person for as long as I can. And for as long as she will have me.
I’ve had to flip to that same perspective many times over these last 16 months. I had to celebrate, mourn, and grieve for what was — and come to terms with what is. Simple and superficial things from baby showers and maternity shoots canceled during a lockdown. To a prolonged lack of support — for days or weeks or months. When nothing looked like we had planned, because it simply wasn’t safe to breathe.
No one is coming. I had to change my mindset because I had to save myself. No one is coming. Not the village I pictured, nor the brunch with a friend and our babies. No one is coming. Someone to hold her so I could shower, rest, or eat. No one is coming. And I had to save myself. And as selfish as it may be, I didn’t have to save myself because I had to save her.
I had to save myself because I had to save myself. There would be no saving anyone else if I couldn’t first save myself.
So through all the dark that became light, I grounded myself in ways that I was able. Through yoga practice, eventually becoming certified. Through social media connections and making cross-country friends. Through studying and certifications, eventually landing a job in an industry I once never thought I was qualified for, especially after already being told no once before.
But here we are. Here we all are a year and months later. The light at the end of the tunnel. One I had to drive through, to come out the other side. Because eventually, the sun will rise in the morning, and dark will become light.