Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OVERLOAD (10/06/16)
TITLE: Worth It
By Cindy Duncan
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Jaylie felt shaky inside. Again. She picked up her screaming baby and tried the bouncing and pacing. Once you’ve checked for any other problems, distance yourself from the baby, and just let her cry. That’s the advice she got from online forums about colic. So she laid the crying child in her bassinet, and sat down. Then there was the two year old.
Chloe had been whiney since they had brought the new baby home, but this was different. She crawled up into Jaylie’s lap, with a constant moaning sound that didn’t help calm the mood from the screaming infant. “I don’t peel good, Mommy.” Chloe had just ended the small sentence when she began vomiting. Jaylie did her best to contain it with her hand, but it spilled over onto her and her daughter.
Jaylie and her husband had a deal. She cleaned poop, but in the event of a vomiting episode, he agreed to take over. “Cleaning up throw up always makes me throw up,” she had told him. But he wasn’t there. He had taken two weeks off when the baby was born, but he had gone back to work today. She was on her own.
After making it to the bathroom with the majority of Chloe’s bodily fluids contained on the two of them, Jaylie heard the barking. She recognized that bark. It was their dog’s “I need to go out and pee,” bark. He would have to wait. As she ran the water in the tub and carefully took off Chloe’s clothes, Jaylie remembered the day her husband had brought the dog home.
She had wanted a baby, but he wasn’t ready. He thought the dog would give her someone to care for and nurture. Someone to take her mind and heart off of a baby. But it hadn’t worked. Four years later they had two small children, and the dog. But listening to the baby crying, the toddler moaning, and the dog barking, Jaylie wondered if he might have been right. Maybe he wasn’t ready, and neither was she. She hadn’t realized how difficult this motherhood thing would be, and she wasn’t fully convinced that she could handle it all. Suddenly, it felt like too much had been put on her.
As she dried Chloe off, and pulled the soft dress over her silky, wet hair, Jaylie felt her nerves calm just a little. She let the dog out, and found a new determination to help her infant daughter feel better. She sat Chloe on the sofa to watch a movie, and picked up her baby. Jaylie sat down next to Chloe and laid the baby across her legs, but she continued to wail. Chloe put her hands over her ears, looking back impatiently at Jaylie.
“I’m trying to make her stop, sweetheart. I think her tummy hurts.” Jaylie saw the frustration in her two-year old’s eyes turn to compassion as she realized the little intruder was in pain.
“I pway for her.” Chloe climbed off the sofa, fell onto her chubby knees, and prayed.
As she watched her daughter pray, Jaylie whispered a prayer of her own. “Lord, please answer this child’s prayer, not so much for her sister’s sake, but for her own. Let her know that you hear her.”
Chloe crawled back onto the sofa, and wrapped her arms around the baby. “I wuv you, Sissy.” She kissed her, and ever so gently began rubbing her belly.
The combination of the frustration of the morning and the sweetness of the moment caused tears to form in Jaylie’s eyes. Her newborn daughter’s cries turned into soft whimpers, and then in a moment Jaylie would remember for years to come, the baby looked at her big sister, and smiled.
“Mommy, Jesus made me and Sissy better.” Chloe snuggled close to Jaylie and continued to love on her sister.
Jaylie wiped the tears from her eyes, and looked up to the ceiling. “I am ready for this, Lord, and with your help, it will be worth it,” she whispered.
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