Every now and then, L has nightmares. It’s really sad; she’ll start crying and won’t stop until I wake her up and tell her it’s okay. At three months, I’m not sue what she fears (no food? painful gas? missing mommy? birth?), but whatever it is, it scares her. And I don’t like seeing her scared.

She’s so small, you see, and so new. She hasn’t experienced anything yet, at least anything that can give her real nightmares. The kind you run from, hide under your bed from. Or worse, the kinds you can’t. She’s unmarked, undamaged, just new and clean. And despite wanting to, I know I can’ keep her that way.

Because eventually she’ll start to move more and maybe skin her knee. Or fall and bump her head. And she’ll cry from the pain and I’ll try my best to make it better.

And later she’ll meet kids her own age and while some will be kind, they won’t all be. Some might say things to hurt her feelings, some might be mean to her, and I’ll just be able to tell her it’s okay, they’re wrong, she’s wonderful.

She’ll fall in love one day, and maybe that person won’t reciprocate her feelings. Maybe she’ll have a broken heart, or two, and mommy won’t be able to sew it back together.

Or worse, maybe she’ll get to the stage in her teenage years where she won’t even tell me she’s hurt. Where she’ll carry around her pain and i’ll see it in her face, hear it in her voice, but she won’t share. And all I’ll want is for her to lay it on me, let me make it better.

But all of that is in the future. And perhaps it won’t happen, but it all probably will. Because we all grow up. And the pains and fears that we carry are the ones that shape us to be who we are. And though I want to shelter her from everything that might make her frown, I know she has to experience everything. Good and bad. Large and small. With me and without.

But for now, i’ll take solace in the fact that her nightmares are small. I’ll hold on to the fact that, for at least now, I can make everything better with a hug and a kiss.

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