“So … do I just lie here and try to sleep?”
“Yes, my darling. I’ll stay with you until you fall asleep.”
How does she not know what it means to be comforted by her Mama. In a decade, have I never done this with her?
“I love you, Mama. Thanks for staying with me.”
“I love you too, my Baby.”
It’s late. So late that the girls have flipped over into the twilight zone of sleep-deprivation-induced dysfunction. Nothing in their worlds makes sense. They’re angry and afraid and oh-so-exhausted.
And so am I.
This is their first late night this week, but it’s the earliest I’ve seen a pillow in ten days – and it’s 11:45PM.
I hold my little girl’s hand, and gently stroke her back. Soon the room is filled with rhythmic angel breathing, and I feel myself dropping off as well.
My days are so filled with focus on work and Goldilocks’ neuroses that Red Riding Hood gets left to fend for herself, it seems. We had that, growing up. It’s why I only had two kids: I didn’t want to do this to anyone else. And yet here I am: doing it.
No wonder she is so angry so much of the time. No wonder she resists physical touch: she hasn’t experienced enough of it.
I hug her tighter than I ever could when she’s awake, and I kiss her a hundred – a thousand – times on her beautiful forehead. She smiles in her sleep and flings her tiny little arms around my neck. “Thank you, Mama” she breathes in sleep angel music into my ear.
I love you, Baby Girl.