Did I ever tell you the dream I had when I was pregnant with my first son? About how I somehow ended up with a baby but didn’t know what to do with him. And how, in the dream, I was busy and had things to do and places to go and so, in the dream, I put the baby in a box and covered him with a blanket and put him in the bottom of my bedroom closet. And I went and did my thing.

And after I had done my thing and much time had passed I would remember, all of a sudden, that oh my goodness I’d left that baby in that box in that closet. And I would rush to the room and stop at the closet door, afraid of what I would find. I’d fearfully open the door, and he would be lying in that box on the floor. Just fine.

I had that dream several times during my pregnancy, and the uncertainty and the terror and the relief that I felt each time were visceral. I woke up, each time, feeling sick.

Then he was born, and I was all thumbs when I gave him his first bath in the hospital, and I worried myself crazy imagining all the things that could go wrong. And the nursing wasn’t working and he cried so much and I was alone in my little home in the middle of nowhere for days on end.

I remembered the nurses’ advice. Their confident you’ll get the hang of it, and you’ll know what to do, and babies are tougher than you think.

But he didn’t seem very tough. He seemed small and helpless and I didn’t always know what to do. It didn’t just come naturally. And I felt like the biggest mommy failure in the world when I gave up and gave him his first bottle. And I remember the hours of crying baby and crying mommy and just knowing I was making a mess of it all.

Yesterday Matilda had her babies. Three tiny, perfect, mewling little creatures that were found under the front steps when Carter went outside to play. He heard them crying and searched them out and came in to tell me that the babies were alone and cold and wet and Matilda was nowhere to be found.

And like a slap it all came back to me. The not knowing how to be a mommy times. The times when it didn’t just come naturally.

For a while we left the babies where they were and just watched through the window. Matilda came and went but she ignored her babies.

She isn’t accepting them, Colton said. She doesn’t know what to do.

Finally we gathered the babies and a box and we put momma in with them, but she just wandered from corner to corner, stepping on the babies and trying to escape.

They’re going to die, Mom, Carter said, and he searched my heart with those big, blue, pleading eyes of his.

Let’s try to get them nursing, I said.

So I held Matilda on a towel on the couch, and Carter helped each baby, one at a time, find a nipple. And it worked. The babies nursed, and it was like Matilda really saw them for the first time. She tongue-washed them, and wrapped herself around them, and it was like she finally got it.

Is this what a mommy needs when she is struggling to find her way? When it seems like her instincts are betraying her? When she’s cross and tired and unlovely.

Because sometimes words aren’t enough. Sometimes, it takes more than an encouraging you’ll be fine.

Sometimes it takes a knock on a door and a hug and a let’s do this together, Friend.

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; nuy if a man falls when he is alone, he is in trouble. Also on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain a warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two stand back-to-back and conquer, three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (Living Bible)