“Strap me in…,” she pleaded, taking my hands with hers and wrapping them around her spirited 5-year old body.

Even though this was the millionth time today that she had run from whatever she was doing to wherever I was, I obliged without complaint. She’s become quite expert in her five years at plunging herself onto my lap.  From the youngest age, she’s been easily overwhelmed and today was no different.  We had a few people over to celebrate my birthday, and while she talked about being excited to see everyone, as soon as the phone rang signaling the first guest’s arrival, my great flower ran to her bathroom to hide.

She came out for a few minutes until the next guest rang up, causing her to retreat back to a space she felt comfortable in.  As I know how she gets when there are too many people in her space, I let her be.

I checked on her periodically and encouraged her to come say hello if she was ready. When she reached a point where her discomfort ebbed (and she wanted the lunch I made for her), she came outside, holding my hand.

She sat in her regular seat at the table and ate while everyone talked around her.  The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, coupled with some strawberries and half of a chocolate cupcake gave her enough courage to slide off her chair and onto the carpeted stage of our apartment.  She mingled, and schmoozed as 5-year-old girls usually do, but in between her smiles and laughter, she’d run over for a quick mommy hug — the touch and connection between us an essential reassurance to continue being social. When she’d had enough, she posed a question.

“Mommy, can I go to my room again?”

“Sure, honey,” I replied.

Her withdrawal was no surprise, and moreover, I knew it was necessary for her to recharge her batteries.

Even after everyone left, she found herself drained and curled up next to me on the couch, drawing comfort from the warmth of my motherly frame.

I was drained, too.  As much as I love and appreciate my family and friends so dearly, the introvert in me needs the times when there are more than 2 or 3 other people in my smallish apartment to be few and far between.

My cup was filled today, but the month has been long, and as they often have in the last few years, the emotions bubbled over past my bottom lashes and it was me who needed the hugs. Thankfully the Man and the little monkey were happy to oblige.

Strap me in – be my seat belt when the ride of life gets too bumpy.

Comfort me, keep me safe.

Let me find solace in you, so I can face the unfamiliar again.

We all need someone to strap us in from time to time, the more sensitive among us, more often than most. I’m happy to be her seat belt, and grateful that there are several people in my life willing to be mine.

Strap Me In