The Cute took a nap today.
And that meant an inevitable problem with falling asleep last night. Even though my husband lovingly laid beside him for a half hour.
I finally went in at 11. He was the picture of cute…his little nightlight gripped tightly as he hunched over a favorite book. My heart exploded a little.
I softly told him it was time to sleep. That I would help and snuggle him. He told me that Daddy had said “shhhhh” to him, why wasn’t I? I sighed and explained that Daddy was just trying to help him sleep like every night. And that he was shh-ing him because it is easier to fall asleep while quiet. And after we talk a bit now, we will also be quiet. But I know that tonight is different and I wanted to talk about that. About how sometimes some people have problems sleeping. Mommy knows that first hand. Daddy is lucky and doesn’t have problems like we do (hell, the man could fall asleep on a bed of nails in Grand Central Station) but Mommy understands. And I do.
Suddenly, I am five and in my own big girl bed…struggling to be good and fall asleep but unable. Crying to myself as I try to let go of the hurt and the screaming image of my father from the earlier fight before. I hate these nights. Trying so hard to relax but my little mind is racing. Inevitably ending with him raging again….scarier than during the day, yanking me from my bed and yelling inches from my face to stand up until I could “stop crying already and damn well go to sleep”. I can still feel the spittle on my little face. I can still see the rage contorting his features. The corner of his mouth glistening with froth. And then I would be alone, scared and crying harder. Slowly feeling the exhaustion creep in, but unable to lay down till he came back. It always felt like forever.
He didn’t understand. And he did what he always did when he was ignorant. He stomped it down. Stomped me down.
And I’m suddenly in my son’s bed trying, for all the world, not to sob into my little boy’s arms. And instead I promise him that I will always understand…that mommy’s daddy used to get mad at her for not sleeping..but his daddy and I will never be mad. And I realize I’ve said too much and so I am about to change the subject when he says…mommy’s daddy? And I say yes, I have a daddy too but you haven’t met him. He asks me if he lives on another planet. And I almost say yes but instead I say that he lives far away in another state (leaving out the part that he will probably never meet him). But with his ever social and loving heart he says.. “and some day I will meet him and then I can take his picture with my camera”. Tears instantly fill my eyes as I say, “who knows…you might some day”. And then I let it drop into kisses and snuggles, glad for the dark. Glad for the chance to hold him and in a way hold myself…the little girl rising up in my chest. And it’s only a few minutes before he’s fast asleep holding my neck tight.
And I think to my father somewhere in his own kingdom…ten minutes…you fucking bastard…it only took ten minutes, just a few soft touches and some understanding. He’s so fucking worth it…and so was I.