I sang Big C to sleep tonight. “Baby Beluga” the classic Raffi song, in fact. It’s the kind of song that you can just sing over and over. And we did that many a night when she was a babe. Sometimes I’d be walking her while she was in the ergo. Or we’d bounce her on the yoga ball. There were countless nights when we sang that song until she fell asleep. But’s it’s been years since then. She’s now a kid, who goes to sleep in her own bed rather than our arms. But tonight, I sang her to sleep. And I had to choke back tears a few times because it’s been a hard few months at our house. And I haven’t been the mother I’m always striving to be. I’ve been just hanging on. Doing the best I can. Gritting my teeth through bedtime. Deep breathing to keep from yelling, or crying, or storming off. But not tonight.
Tonight I was with her at bedtime. Fully there. Listening, hugging, snuggling. She asked me for a story and for the first time in many months, I made one up on the spot. And I watched as it soothed her. It nourished her with just what she needed right then. Oh, it was so good. Not to be telling a story because I read on some blog that that’s what I should do. But just to be telling her a story because it felt right. Because we were in the moment together and forces bigger than just her and I helped us flow with it all.
When it was time to turn out the light, she said she couldn’t sleep because it was too light. When I asked her how I could help, she said “sing me a song.” So I did. And I rubbed her feet. And I wasn’t just going through the motions as I have been for so many bedtimes these last few months. I enjoyed it. I felt myself returning from a dark journey to a sad place.
And I now know better than to think that every night can be like this. And somewhere I know that I am enough as a mother, whether I’m gritting my teeth through bedtime or blissing out on the connection with my wee ones. It’s all a part of it. But damn, it’s so good when you get the bliss moments. And I really needed that!
Here is Big C’s story….
The Island of Puppies by Mommy
Once there was a little girl, who was just about your age. She thought puppies were so cute and every night at bedtime, she wanted to talk to her mommy about them. Her mother told her that she could visit with puppies anytime she wanted, in her dreams. So one night, she climbed into her bed, pulled the covers up tight and started to drift off to sleep. She found herself in a boat, her dream boat. The boat rocked and rocked her and the little girl drifted of to sleep. A little while later, she awoke to find she had landed on an island. And this island was full of teeny, tiny puppies. They were so cute! There were all kinds of puppies. There were black ones and white ones. Spotted ones and fluffy ones. The little girl put her hands down and they would lick her and nuzzle her. She picked one up and cuddled it up to her face and it licked her right on her nose. The little girl had the most fun playing with the puppies. They ran through the meadow together. She would throw sticks and they would fetch them but because they were so tiny, the little girl had to help them bring them back. They went to the stream on the island and splashed in the water and all the puppies would lap up the water with their tongues. When they got sleepy from all the playing, the little girl and the puppies curled up together under a tree. There were puppies by her feet, puppies on her belly and even one curled up under her chin. They all napped together in the shade of the tree. When they woke up, they knew it was almost time for the little girl to go back home so she threw a few more sticks, splashed a few more times and ran back across the meadow to her boat. When she climbed aboard, she looked back to see all the puppies lined up on the shore watching her go! She promised she would come back. She laid down and the boat rocked and rocked her and she drifted off to sleep. When she awoke, she was in her own cozy bed and Father Sun was beginning to rise. The little girl told her mother all about her visit to the Island of Puppies. And she knew she’d go back again that very night!