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Today was a trying day. Personally and professionally.
I’ll skip the professional stuff – it would be unprofessional.
Because of a meeting and an appointment I picked up Miss O about an hour later than usual, getting home at what is normally dinnertime. We were both tired, rushed, and cranky so when she asked to watch Elmo’s Learning Adventure, I happily obliged.
Then it came.
I had put in the right DVD, but I had played the wrong episode. Part of me sympathizes. I know I look forward to relaxing while catching up on DVR’d episodes of So You Think You Can Dance and it puts a big kink in my plans when it doesn’t record or is preempted for some sports broadcast. Of course I express my frustration through emphatic arm movements and carefully selected curse words – she expresses hers by writhing on the floor, crying, and screaming.
At first I ignore it. That sort of behavior shouldn’t be rewarded with attention – that’s what I tell myself.
Then I try to talk her down. Distraction, reasoning, the occasional bribe. Sometimes it works, but usually not. We’ve passed the point of no return.
Finally I pick her up and I see it. The look. The heartbreaking look of pain and struggle, asking for my help. Today talking will not work. Today she will not be distracted. Today my sweet girl is beyond tired and can not calm down. She pleads with me with her eyes, upset without knowing why.
Her body fights me at first, not ready to give up just yet. Then, slowly her fingers relax, then her arms and neck. The legs are the last to surrender. They tense and flail and kick in the last gasps of struggle. But still the eyes seek mine, needing my assurance that the moment has passed, that she has survived and is back in control of herself.
We hold each other’s gaze and find peace… for the moment.