I brought Sam to a meeting that I had to attend this morning, a gathering of a hundred of people from the non-profit world, packed into the Center theater. The little guy was snuggled in his carseat, peaceful and quite content, almost sleeping at one point. I had it all: the bag, the diapers, the phone with the comforting waterfall sound, the binkie, the lovie....About ten minutes into the meeting, Sam begin to fuss. Holding wasn't doing it, neither was the iphone nor the pacifier. Panic, the need to be hidden, not make a scene kicked in and I took the little bundle out to the lobby, listening to the mandatory meeting from outside the door. I eventually put him on the breast, what would have been a good move from the onset, and he fell asleep, slumbering until we got home.
I thought a great deal about the episode afterwards, about my own discomfort about being visible and causing attention to myself. Being with a baby you are forced to confront this role regularly, as their form of communication is limited to cries and fusses. As a mom you are made more visible in the world by default. The rawness of parenthood can be exposed and expressed in the matter of minutes when in public with a child, the facade of serenity easily cracked open with the changing moods of an infant. And there is such beauty and pureness in this, lessons that can be learned about ones discomfort and ones stance on this planet. Sam was using his voice to express what he needed in that moment. Pure. Simple. Straightforward. True. As I struggle with how to use my own voice, I look at Sam and his ability to ask for what he needs, a capability that I hope he always possesses.