I seem to have learned to breathe again, for now. I’m breathing in a natural rhythm on my own, and listening to the soft whir of machines as they breathe for my daughter. Has a part of me died, that I can do so easily what I know she cannot?
When Kiara was in my belly it was excruciating to have to wait for weeks between scans, unable to see with my own eyes that she was alive and growing well. And then after she was born, a perfectly healthy little pink bundle, I would watch her every breath, the weighty responsibility of keeping my gift alive unbearably heavy on my twenty-five-year-old shoulders. I would sit up in bed with her sleeping on my chest, drifting into a light sleep, my body in tune with hers. And when she skipped a breath, as newborns are prone to do, my breath skipped too, and I woke each time in a panic.
Eventually I felt God whisper, “Are you ready to let me do my job, so you can get back to yours?”
And I realized that I was meant to be her mother, not the God who gave her each breath, and I surrendered her breathing into his hands, and tucked her into her crib. After that I was better able to mother her, leaving God to do the heavy lifting.
Today, I’m being tested on how well I learned that lesson. I disconnect my chest from hers, but I wonder if she can live if I lose concentration on willing her to do so. She is still fighting for her life. How can I step out of the fight and take a nap? How can I close the door of my mind to thoughts of her?
Guilt is peeking over the wall, knocking at the gate and hoping for an invitation. He remains outside where Fear was relegated. The prayer warriors have built a wall around us and both Fear and Guilt know, it’s “By Invitation Only”. I shake my head, and they slink away again.
Breathe, baby girl. Wake up, little girl. Talitha koum. Little girl, wake up.
She is tucked into bed, the machines whirring quietly. And I close my eyes. And breathe.