It’s 3:17 am, at least it was the last time I left my bed to be with her. Harper has been upset since 1 am, crying, coughing, spluttering 'almost-words', ‘Maaammoooomaa, Daaaddddduuuuddudud!’ She’s teething, amongst all the other things that must be happening in a little body constantly exploding with growth.
She’s inconsolable, almost. She’ll accept a vigorous butt tap as payment for her silence. If you’re lucky, she’ll sleep, and you can sneak out, gingerly opening the door so the hallway light doesn't spill in.
But what if you stop the butt-tap, your arms limp and heavy from reaching over the crib at the wrong angle? Could you just hold her tiny hand? Sure, she might accept that.
What if you just stay? What if you make a silent agreement that when she looks up next, you'll be there. And the time after that?
I get how she feels though, 33 years her senior. I still feel that fear of being alone, of someone giving up on me because I just can't roll-over and accept that this is life now. Like I've been in the desert, wandering - and I've just gotten so used to the view that I have forgotten I'm meant to be headed somewhere. Or maybe, its a boat; an ark ever floating on a sea of destruction that feels like it will never recede, even after the rain has gone.
If you're honest you know the feeling too. Wrangling fear, anxiety, loneliness is tough. And this hour at night is no exception.
Here is what I realised in this moment. We aren't, as adults, unlike Harper.
Sometimes we don’t need words. We don’t need a hug or a cuddle, or even a vigorous butt-tap. We don’t even need a divine incursion or a mysterious confirmation. We don't even need a rainbow.
Sometimes it’s just enough to know someone is with you.