Friday, November 7, 2008

Little Corners

His little whimpers nudged me from my sleep. Although in another room, I swear I could hear his soft breaths as they hit his sheets.

Silence. He found sleep . . .

My meager attempts at finding comfort were fruitless. Those little cries were unlike his usual pleas. There was pain in those cries. The soft edges of the sing-song requests for mommy were not to be found.

As I slowly made my way to his room, avoiding the grunts and moans of the floorboards, I peered in. He was still. Peaceful. Silent.

But I was not. Dark and crushing images suddenly flooded my mind. Images I dare not share with you for fear that giving them voice will make them real.

Teething. Overtired. A nightmare. Just not himself. Perfectly normal, acceptable reasons why J is not my happy, smiley, good-natured boy. Makes perfect sense.

But yet my mind won't stop.

He awoke this morning in a fit of tears. His face did not light up upon seeing me enter his room. The tears only came at a faster pace. I reached for him and he grabbed at me. Pulling my face to his, he wrapped his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist. His little fingers grasping at the collar of my shirt as his rigid body shook in my arms.

He was afraid.

I was afraid.

He calmed after a moment and his head slumped against my shoulder. We lay on the sofa in the living room. His body relaxed against mine. I moved my hands up and down his back as I felt the comforting rhythm of his heart beat against my chest.

As I watched the soft fluffs of his hair move with each exhale of my measured breaths, my eyes filled with tears. And I'm not sure I know why.

J was scared. His fear surged like bullets through my body, piercing my heart and ripping through my brain.

I don't scare easily. My past has taught me to expect the worst. To embrace it. I have little doubt that my brief encounter with fear will be fleeting. But I am never ill-prepared for its return.

Joy is fickle, indiscriminate as to where it stakes its claim. When joy claims a little corner of my life, I watch it with a raised eyebrow and knowing smirk on my face, waiting for it to take off and laugh as it leaves me . . . alone. Joy and fear. Fear and joy. Constant conflict. Regular bedfellows.

Pessimistic?

Maybe.

But, I refuse to take anything or anyone for granted. I refuse to not say I love you . . . I care about you . . . I celebrate this moment . . . simple moments . . . peaceful moments . . . the not-so-perfect moments. Why? Because you are here. With me.

Because in an instant, life can change. Joy can rush in leaving you breathless and a moment later rush out leaving you with nothing.

J is sleeping. I hear his sighs, his deep breaths, the little hum of peaceful slumber.

For now, peace.

Joy. Stuck in that little corner. Not going anywhere.

I won't let it.

43 comments:

Tara R. said...

When my daughter was very young she would have night terrors... so much worse than nightmares. They were truly frightening to witness and even more frustrating because there was little to be done to comfort a petrified child. Fortunately thought, she would remember nothing the next morning. I can so relate to sitting vigil at night with a scared child. I hope J can find that peaceful place and he is sleeping better soon.

My daughter eventually grew out of having these dreams, and my son never experienced them.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Oh sweetie, I can feel all your emotions here and relate to them. I hope he is fine, often those nights meant ear infections for my little ones.

justmylife said...

Little Miss had night terrors. I hated every minute of it. If she remembered it I am sure she would hate it too. I know how you feel as far as waiting for something to happen, I am the same way. I am glad for the good, but fear the worst.

Kori said...

OWen and I went through that, too, and there are few things that make me feel so helpless as a parent than knowing my baby is afraid and there isn't anyhting I can do about it.

MoziEsmé said...

What a sweet post. It IS scary when all is not well with your baby...

Tracey said...

It's so hard to make peace in our minds that our children WILL be afraid and hurt and lonely... and we can't stop it. But we can't live in fear of it, either.

CC said...

Awwww. I'm cuddling him here in my heart too. It is all so fleeting.

crazymumma said...

I have signed myself into the school visitor book and walked up three flights of stairs, more than once. To tell my girls that I love them and to have a good day.

If that morning we were too rushed and had forgotten.

Wendi said...

I am so sorry about these tough nights.
So scary for you and him.
I hope this is just a phase that will soon pass.
((hugs))
Sometimes when my kids would wake up nottheirnormallittleselves...an ear infection or teething would soon follow.

Pregnantly Plump said...

Night terrors are awful! Poor little guy. Hopefully those bad dreams will go away soon.

meredithwinn said...

oh this brings me back. night terrors, first fears, clinging like a baby monkey. it invokes pure mommyness like a kickstart to protect.

and wow. this, what you said. yes. i am there too with the smirk. "Joy is fickle, indiscriminate as to where it stakes its claim. When joy claims a little corner of my life, I watch it with a raised eyebrow and knowing smirk on my face, waiting for it to take off and laugh as it leaves me . . . alone. Joy and fear. Fear and joy. Constant conflict. Regular bedfellows."

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My youngest daughter had night terrors. It is one of the scariest things around. She actually threw a lamp and broke it when she was about 18 months old.

I hope he grows out of it soon--though I do think it is scarier for the parents than the child--they don't remember anything.

Trannyhead said...

Poor guy - and poor mama! I wish I could tell you I relate, but Sumo doesn't GET scared. He's crazy as hell.

That being said, I do feel FOR you, though, and hope his night terrors or whatever else is causing his discomfort disappear ASAP!

Erin said...

My lil guy woke up the other night SCREAMING...I don't think my feet hit the floor. I flew into his room and picked him up and he just clung to me. My heart? I swear it was going to beat right out of my chest. He fell back to sleep moments later. Me? An HOUR! So I feel ya there!
And, after my Dad passed away, I have never parted ways/hung up the phone with family without saying I Love You. The other night, had to leave the house cause Hubby peed me off..but thru gritted teeth, I said I Love You. I will never take that for granted again.

Kristen said...

Oh those nightmares are the worst. The worst.

It tears at your soul when they are that scared.

Beautifully writtn post. I am hoping that J continues to rest peacefully.

womaninawindow said...

Hey, I do this, breathe evenly trying to will the joy to stay. The fear pumping its little fists in a circle all around me. "come on, ya wanna fight?" Short little fear. Sometimes I want to kick it in its little boxing pants. Sometimes it bites back.

I'm glad he was Ok. Glad you are Ok.

Hockeyman said...

Teething.....SUCKS

Stacie said...

OH this was a so beautifully written, I could picture it all.

The thing is, we know WE can handle the fear and the disappointments, but when we have to watch our children experience them it is a total different ballgame.

slouching mom said...

yes. the fragility of it all, it takes my breath away sometimes.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

He's the age when the night terrors could start. As long as you are there to comfort & reassure him, you know you're doing right.

Indy said...

Wishing you and your little one peace and lots of sleep.

Payton said...

Poor little thing.

I hope things get better for the both of you.

tommie said...

I don't think there is much more of a "mom" feeling when you can calm a frightened child. Knowing that you have it in you to make all that is right in his world....

today I had the chance to go and do something I love, but it meant being away from the babies (yes, I STILL call them my babies) for almost 8 hours....I almost didn't go! What if they needed me while I was gone?

just jamie said...

"...Images I dare not share with you for fear of giving them voice will make them real."

You too?

Yeah, me too.

Scares me senseless.

(LOVE your writing Laski!)

maggie's mind said...

Your writing is just amazing. If I was reading aloud, it would roll of the tongue. I also refuse to take certain things for granted, especially little moments packed with simple special. That spoke to me.

Zoeyjane said...

Oh hun. Since everyone's mentioned it, practically, night terrors...most of the time, they're not awake awake and they don't remember - so they're obviously not scarred by them. That being said, I wanted to suggest something.

Some of us moms have a weird sense. Maybe it's because we slept, ate over and breathed in our babies, but we seem to have a connection more nontraditional than some other moms. Me? I have been awakened by Isobel twice in her life - and she's spent many a night completely awake, screaming and denying sleep. I have always (but those two times) woken up before she did.

Maybe that's what really curdled in your belly, unknown. Nothing was wrong, or will be - something is better than right, really.

Lindsey said...

I get a lot like that.....like when things are so very good, I just look around and think, "Oh no! What's about to happen?" And sometimes, that fear can overwhelm me.

My husband had night terrors as a child and each little girl has had a similar experience though not as often (thank goodness).

Give that sweet baby J a big fat hug from me!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

It may seem fickle to say this as the content is more important, but you wrote that so very, very well.

Kellan said...

This was beautifully written!!! This was full of emotion and it made me sad and then I felt relief. I hope you find joy that stays around and fear that stays far back in the corners. I wish you only peace and happiness!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this heart-felt post and I know it comes from pain and emotion. I hope you are okay! Kellan

Anonymous said...

I could have written this (OK, maybe not quite the way you did). I so GET what you said.

The emotions can be unforgiving, can they not?

Ang

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

Perfectly said. We never stop worrying, and our hearts never stop breaking for those little moments.

painted maypole said...

ooo... MQ had night terrors, too, but fortunately they did not happen often and went away pretty soon

Momisodes said...

I am right there with you. My daughter is waking with nightmares and night terrors.

Here's to hoping our little ones find some peaceful slumber soon.

Kimmylyn said...

My oldest had night terrors for about three months when he was two..he would look right at me and not see me..I was so scared..but never stopped hugging..and eventually he became limp and slept peacefully..

so scary though.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Poor baby and poor Mama. I promise that too shall pass. Man it's rough, isn't it?!

Nap Warden said...

Oh no...I hope he found some peaceful sleep...so sad:(

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

You certainly can paint a vivid picture with words...

Hope J gets past this stage soon...

McMommy said...

We went through night terrors with my Matty. I've never experienced such a feeling of hopelessness. It seems he has outgrown them now at 4 years old....goodness knows I HOPE he has....

Kat said...

My goodness, we have so much in common. I feel every word of this beautiful post.
You are a genius! (i told you we have much in common. hehe)

Cecily R said...

Both Isaac and Gracie had night terrors. Isaac's were the worst--especially since he was my first. They were awful. I was terrified for him and wondered all the time WHAT could make him so scared. He got through them. We got through them. And Gracie's were a little easier for me to handle. A little.

I feel you on this one. Truly I do. You'll both get through it.

lizzy-loo said...

you speak to my heart and put words to my feelings in a way that i never can.

i have a daughter who had night terrors for about a year. terrible when there is nothing you can do.

Jonny's Mommy said...

I hate, hate, hate when Jonathan wakes up like this. I cry too. I don't want him to be afraid, or sad, or scared or freaked out.

This was so perfectly written for how it feels. Thank you!

April said...

Gorgeous post...as usual.

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