This tiny human glows. Her toothless smile tickles my heart and brings tears to my eyes. She kicks her chubby legs, the paper beneath crunching with each hit. She squeals as I kiss her almost non-existent neck. Her soft skins smells of milk and spit-up. Perfection.
“Hold her arms down, Mom,” the nurse with the dark ponytail says. I take each soft hand in mine and gently press them to the paper. My little girl captures my gaze and lets out a one syllable giggle.
The change is sudden. Her eyes shut tight, a wrinkle appears between her brows, mouth turns into a half open grimace, and her entire face becomes scrunched and twisted. It is the cutest, saddest thing I’ve ever seen.
After a deep breath, she opens her gray eyes and screams. My heart stings. I feel as though I’ve betrayed my baby. Tears pour down her cheeks. Her eyes seem to say, “Why did you let this happen, Mommy?”
The back of my eyes burn, but I blink away the threatening tears.
“You can pick her up,” the other nurse says, then they walk out the door. Quick but careful, I lift her tense body and wrap her in my arms. I kiss her cheek and whisper how everything is alright, but it’s not. At least not for her. I’m the one person she trusts in this world, and I let her get hurt. I even helped. I take comfort knowing that this pain, like most pain, was necessary.
Still, I wish I could stop seeing her look of utter devastation now etched in my memory forever.
I wish my kisses would erase her misery.
What is a memory you would erase?