The Goodnight Song
I got home late last evening after a parent meeting at Gia’s school and was expecting her to be tucked into bed. Instead I walked in on Gia in the midst of a massive tantrum and Daddy sitting there looking confused. He said “We were doing fine, and she just freaked out as soon as I said it was time for bed.”
It had been a long day and I was tired and hungry and starting to get cranky myself. I didn’t want to deal with the situation at that moment but between the two of us, we somehow managed to get her dressed, brushed and ready for bed. She didn’t want me to read and she didn’t want to go to bed. It was almost like she was nervous about something. So I made an agreement with her, instead of the crib, she could be on my bed and I would stay with her until she fell asleep.
Once she was pacified and she calmed down a little Gia returned to her usual talkative self. She said “Today I lost my mommy and then Daddy didn’t know my song and then I lost my rainbow. It would not be a good night mumma.” I almost had to stop myself from laughing; so that’s what was freaking her out! She thought I wouldn’t be around to tuck her in and sing her goodnight song. Having Daddy sing just wouldn’t cut it, and in any case he didn’t know it either.
After I had sung the song to her and after I had snuggled with her, she sighed and started to drift off to sleep. And in that moment I actually felt envious. Not of my child, but of the incorruptibility that comes with being a little babe.
Remember the time before Roth IRAs and 401ks and mortgages and healthcare? The time before you were you- heartbroken and elated, cynical and optimistic, contented and disappointed – before you were a mishmash of a million memories and thoughts that come flooding into your brain each night right before you are about to fall asleep. Remember the time before things that kept you up at night were things that had an easy enough solution? Back to the time when mom and her voice could soothe most of your worries. You could literally breathe in her comfort and fall into slumber and it was ok cause she would be there to catch you.
Most nights I feel overwhelmed about being so irreplaceable and at other times I just plain miss my mommy. And on those nights I make sure I borrow Gia’s goodnight song and things do seem a little bit better.