There is a pain, that many people never experience, but that too many people have.
I wonder if it is a good, or bad pain. Some say it is healthy, a voice in my head tells me it is unnecessary and a sign that what I am doing is wrong. How do we know the difference - between a pain that is good for us, and a pain that is a warning that we need to change directions? Running into a brick wall, over and over is a sign of stupidity, but when do we appreciate the strength it has given us, and if we didn’t keep pushing, would we ever have a chance of breaking to the other side?
I give you an image.
He comes and sleeps cuddled next to me at 4:35 in the morning. He clings around my neck for no apparent reason except that he loves me. He is wearing his plaid pants, his red sweater, and over his shoulder is the bag my sister made him, with a snack and a truck in it, for later. We come to the house, through wet snow. I smile at his caregiver. Exchange greetings, He holds on tighter. His little arms around my neck grip, and then come the sobs. I comfort him, but she tells me to give him to her. A voice in my head (albeit, a preachy one) says “go quickly… it will be easier”. I pass him over, but I have to pull his arms from around me. The sobs turn to deep sad cries and she take him to the couch, where he doesn’t even look at the door. He curls in a ball and wails, while I leave. She says he doesn’t cry for long. I know its because he knows it wont change the fact that I am not coming back.
In the car, I let it all out. What the hell am I doing? What could be so important that I would leave my son, my baby, for eight hours, with someone I hardly know. What kind of hurt is he going through? I should be home …with him!
As we drive I think of an image of mothers who, for centuries left their children, under far worse circumstances. Not just for days but weeks – even months at a time. They would leave them in war, in famine, when they had to work in fields, in other towns, in brothels, in factories, in refugee camps. Women had to leave their children, when they were falsely accused of something, when they couldn’t feed them, when they couldn’t feed themselves. At least I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone, and that though, many times this pain may be tragic or unnecessary, it still makes me and my baby stronger. I hope, I mean, I pray, it makes us stronger.