I don’t know how many times I’ve snapped it at her, when she’s tired, but wriggling. Or how many exasperated sighs there have been while moving her back across to her Daddy’s side of the bed.
Fridays are for slumber parties at our house. She puts on her jammies and climbs under the covers with me. We watch movies and read books. We have ‘moonlight snacks’ and tell stories. At the end of each evening, we pray and turn out the lights.
Because she’s small, her body doesn’t settle down like mine. Sleep feels like the enemy and darkness the horse it rides in on.
She wiggles and thrashes. She whispers to herself the memories of the day before sleep can file them away. She begs for just one more glass of water.
I do my best to keep from shouting. I grit my teeth when a knee ends up in my side. I mumbled and growl when I wake up in a sweat brought on by the tiny space heater pressed against my back. Many nights, I lay awake questioning my logic and whether the memories of “slumber parties” are worth the lack of actual slumber.
My health has been bad and hopefully answers are coming soon, but still the nights together feel pressing and valuable. My new medication keeps my heart racing and my eyes open. When I do sleep, I wake frequently and sometimes in a panic.
Three Friday’s ago I woke with a start, scaring her awake. She called out to me across the king-sized bed, her tiny voice filled with worry.
I tell her it’s OK, even though I’m not really sure, and I settle back against the soggy pillow.
“Go back to sleep, my love. It’s still nighttime,” I whisper into the dark at her and roll to my other side.
For moment all is quiet and then I feel the bed shift slightly. I don’t stop her, and she scoots closer to me–bridging the gap between us. She puts her little hand on my shoulder and rubs up and down on my arm.
“Be still, Momma. It’s still nighttime.”
He’s spoken to me through her before. Delivering messages to me I refuse to hear from another’s lips, and here He is again.
Trust Him. Believe Him. Seek comfort in Him.
It’s still nighttime.
Her hand stops moving on my arm, and I let her sleep where she lay: against my back, while I teeter on the edge. I can’t sleep like this, but I am where I belong.
My mind wanders to the project I’ve been working on: a book of faith to help me explain the cosmos to a daughter who doesn’t yet understand how cruel and dangerous the world can be. A book to comfort. A book to reassure. A book that finally has a name.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
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Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, teacher, mother, wife, blogger, and the owner of the eponymous Liza Dora Books. Her writing has been in publications around the world and her books have been featured in both media and print. She’s sold books in over ten different countries and her titles have been both Amazon Hot New Releases and Amazon Bestsellers in their respective categories.