Last night was one of those really tough nights of parenting. One of the ones that makes you wonder how you are going to cope with two babies. Why you ever thought you could cope with one. One of the ones that feels like it will never end but will be forgotten in an instant when something wonderful happens that we will remember forever like a milestone or a kiss.
There was vomit, lots of vomit. And tears, lots and lots of tears. And no sleep.
As I was lying in bed, listening to Shaun comfort our son through his 4th bout of vomiting, I thought how tender he is. How tender their relationship is. How lucky I am that I can stay in bed and listen to them rather than being the one up and doing it all alone. But as he whispered to him ‘it’s ok Puffin, it’s ok, just get it all out, you’ll be ok, Daddy’s here, it’s going to be ok, you are going to be ok, I love you, just get it out and you will feel better, I love you’ I found myself thinking ‘he can’t hear you’.
And I think that this the is part of Will’s hearing impairment that hurts the most. That in the depths of illness, as infrequent as they are, we don’t put his hearing aids in. But we still talk to him, whisper to him. We use words that have been used to comfort us through pain by our own parents, by each other. And he misses all of it.
I take some comfort of my own in that I am a great believer in the power of touch. I am a tactile person and Shaun and I are a very tactile couple. William is cuddled and kissed and held and rocked and nurtured whether or not he is ill. And last night, when Shaun was whispering to him that it was all going to be ok, I hope that even though he couldn’t hear him, he could understand that Daddy was there because Daddy was just that, there. Holding him, stroking his brow, mopping the sick from his mouth, kissing his head.
And I hope that every evening before I go to bed when I look in on my sleeping baby and tell him I love him, what he doesn’t hear in my words he understands the next morning when we start our day with a long, perfect hug.
Because actions, as they say, speak louder than words.