“Comfort is the only thing our civilization can give us.” –Oscar Wilde
My son was a thumb sucker. Big time. He had a bad cold when he was three and a half, couldn’t breathe with his thumb jammed in his pie hole, and that was the end of that. He had, however, by then recognized that he was capable of comforting himself when necessary.
My daughter didn’t suck her thumb. She has learned instead to derive comfort from bossing the rest of us around like an adorable tyrant. Actually, she’s not much of a sleeper and never was a thumb sucker or a binky fiend, but she figured out early on that her imagination could keep her occupied and thus soothed. When that fails, she manages to pull her sleep ninja maneuver and slip, undetected, into a place of great physical comfort.
My bed. No idea when she got there.
This week was a bit rough for me. Like my daughter, I have a good imagination, but instead of providing comfort, I lie awake at night imagining worst case scenarios. I don’t know why this is; I suspect that obstetricians puts some kind of transmitter in you after you push a baby out – doomsday visualization device or some such shit (this topic came up yesterday on Radio Times in an interview with Anna Quindlen – why mothers imagine horrific things, not that gynos hide thought control devices up your hoohoo after you breed, I’m pretty sure Anna Quindlen has never written about that).
Long story short, I’ve been preoccupied with finding sources of comfort in this weary world.
When my son was born he received Clancy, a stuffed bear, as a gift (anotherstoryforanotherday). Clancy sat in the corner of the boy child’s bedroom next to the glider – you know, the hideously unattractive chair that is perfect for nursing and so comfortable to sit in that you forgive its heinous appearance? – where I nursed my baby in the wee hours.
It’s lonely business, those middle of the night/early morning feedings. I was home alone with a baby all day, completely unconvinced that I had any idea what I was doing, I had little adult contact, it was winter so we weren’t outside on the go much…on more than one dark night I found myself, sleeping baby latched on, drowsily resting one arm on Clancy’s head, and in a half-dream state talking to Clancy about whatever was on my mind.
My mom is thinking about moving, so we’re cleaning out all the
crap we’ve been able to pretend isn’t ours stuff she was nice enough to store for us in her attic. With a wedding dress, a box of pictures and school papers from the early 70′s, and other assorted artifacts, Clancy came home this week. And with those other items, Clancy was unceremoniously dumped in the living room mostly because I can’t be bothered to ever clean up my house. Last night, tired after a long day, I lay down, resting on Clancy to talk to my husband.
There is certain comfort to be found in family and familiarity. Friends offer comfort. Some people find comfort in their kitchens, some in their words , some in the words of others, some in their creativity, some in shopping, some even in grabbing a nap on a life-sized stuffed bear.
True appreciation of Clancy and his comfortability requires an appreciation of scale.