I gotta have fai-aith.
Why does every thought of mine force a correlating song into my head? I have no idea.
Xavi had diarrhea all day on Sunday. We thought it was just a fluke in the morning, but by the third bout in the early afternoon we realized we needed to go straight home and get him water, rest and a little soak in a room temp tub. Poor kid was such a trooper, though. We all spent the day at the New York Hall of Science and it wasn’t until that third round that he started really crying and freaking out when I changed his diaper.
It took the three of us sitting in the bathroom with him at home to convince him to sit his bottom down in the bathtub, red-faced from crying and shallow, scared little breaths looking at us with pleading, unsure eyes. Then you could see relief wash over his face and he understood that this was much more soothing than any wiping that had gone on today.
We put them to bed early, exhausted from our big day, and within 15 minutes we heard Xavi crying out for us and saying, ‘Kaka’ over and over. As a team, his daddy and I cleaned him off as gently as possible, as he cried the ‘hurt cry’ that any parent knows drives a dagger right through your heart. I told him we were all done and that it would feel better now and he started whimpering, ‘Okay, mommy…okay, mommy, okay’ over and over again in a way that made it clear that even though he was still hurting in that instant he believed me fully.
This little being has complete faith in my husband and I (and his big brother, too, to be honest) and in that moment it just about broke me. We try our best to do the right thing for our kids, the best thing for our kids, every moment of every day. But sometimes we fail them; We aren’t perfect. And the fact that Xavi still has unwavering faith that we love him, want good things for him and that he can trust us unequivocally…well, it’s actually pretty overwhelming when you think about it. Or when it punches you in the gut when the tone of your baby’s voice somehow makes it all crystal clear.
A big part of why it’s so hard to break a child’s love for and faith in their parents has to do with the fact that they can’t take care of themselves and rely on the parent to take care of them. Evolution hasn’t broken the innate sense to cling to this adult who is supposed to take care of you and keep you alive at all costs, even if they mess up a lot. It makes sense.
But I have noticed, as I have gotten older, that I recognize faith in many other relationships as well. And I think it’s really kind of wonderful. Not to get too mushy or anything. (too late)
Growing up, I teetered between realistic and cynical on most topics. But more and more I find myself giving people the benefit of the doubt. And enjoying it when someone does the same for me. Believing in people, believing in good, trusting.
My husband has been supportive of this blog from day one. We could use more of a second income, while raising two kids in New York, and this blog offers none. But he encourages me to keep writing anyway. What’s more, he actually thinks I should take it a step farther and write a book. Imagine that. He simply believes in my writing. Believes in me. And has faith that if I keep it up – and believe in myself as much as he does – I could be a huge success someday. He is not my child, he does not have to have faith in me…and yet, he does. It’s amazing how much strength and peace that can give you.
Faith is contagious in a lot of ways. The more I see my family have faith in me, the more I know I feel in them, the more it starts to spread even farther out.
Last week on the subway a man told our subway car that he was a Marine Vet who was homeless and hungry. When he passed by with his cup I dropped in a dollar. A minute later a man two seats away leaned over to me and told me a story about a time he had given five dollars to a homeless woman who said she was 8 months pregnant, but had then seen her several months later with a stomach just as large and the same story. He told me most people asking for money use it on drugs or alcohol. How could I know that this man would really go buy himself some food?
I told him I knew how he felt. I have actually also given someone five dollars because they asked for money to buy a slice of pizza for himself and his wife, both homeless. I then watched him walk right by two pizza parlors on that block and off into the night around the corner. Since that time I always listen carefully as someone speaks. If they sound high or are slurring words, I don’t give. I don’t want to knowingly support someone’s demise from drugs or alcohol.
But honestly, otherwise I choose to believe them. I can’t know everyone’s circumstances, but I do know that if they are asking for help, who am I to not at least try and help in some way. More importantly, who am I to not believe what they are saying, one human being to another. Maybe that sounds silly or too existential, but it’s not on me if they are lying. It is on me if someone has the courage to ask for help and I choose not to believe them and help them in some tiny way. That’s how I see it at this point in my life, anyway.
The feeling of your baby looking at you with trust and love, even as he is in pain, is very powerful. But it also makes you feel powerless. I guess most of all it makes you feel extremely, extremely human. Which kind of makes you realize we are ultimately in this together. All of us.