I was about seven years old and I was sleeping on the ground beside my parents’ bed. I was on my mother’s side so we could talk quietly before falling asleep. Usually, she would sing sweetly to me ‘Bah bah black sheep’ or ‘I love you a bushel and a peck’ until I was asleep.
Tonight, I lay down by my mom and shut my eyes, but the darkness behind my eyelids did not blot out the darkness of the night around me. Even worse was the terrifying depth beneath my parents’ bed. So I asked her, “Mom, can you hold my hand until I fall asleep?”
A pause, I thought my mom had fallen asleep when the bed shifted and she replied, “Sure sweetie,” with a smile in her voice I knew was pleasant.
In the dark I could see the shadow of her hand and I took it. Her hand was warm and comfortingly wrapped around my own.
My eyes were beginning to droop when my mom said, “Okay honey, hold my hand now.”
My eyes shot open as a chill gripped my body. “Mom!” I squealed in terror. Whose hand was I holding?
My mother’s laugh can only be described as a cackle as she shook my hand, refusing to let go. “Lauren, Lauren, it’s okay, sweetie, you have my hand.” She was still laughing.
I fell into a bitter sleep.
I still say, Mom, that was weird and cruel to do to your own child. But, I can see now that it would be kind of funny. I can’t wait to do that to my own offspring.
My fiance’s mother asked me if I ever got much sleep as a child. She was joking, of course. After reading these stories, I realize, you may think that I never slept. In reality, I do struggle to sleep very much.
I’m a night owl and I have difficulty getting to sleep at night. Perhaps it’s all residual from my nights as a child where I would be woken by my sister and her nightmares or my brother and his sleepwalking adventures.
I remember when I was little and my parents were trying to figure out what our respective bed times would be. My siblings and I are five years apart. My parents determined that we all should go to sleep thirty minutes after the last. I decided I didn’t like that idea.
I don’t know if my parents knew this and just kept my secret, but I’ve never told them. I used to lay down on the couch or floor as my bedtime grew closer. I would curl up and try to ‘look sleepy’. I would pretend to fall asleep on the couch in case my father would be too tired to pick me up and take me upstairs. I didn’t want to miss the party of late night in the house!
Sometimes, I would get carried up at my brother’s bedtime or I would be shaken awake and told to go upstairs a few minutes after my own bedtime. I never experienced any sort of exciting secret delight of staying up late, but I was happy with my idea of staying up far later than my little sister.
It’s little things like my sleeping charade that makes me think of my childhood and give a little chuckle.
When I think of my mom pretending I held the hand of some specter at night I frown. That was so cruel, Mom! No, that makes me smile, too. It makes the weird and wicked humor that my family has make all the more sense.
Hope the story made you laugh. I’ll be posting a February Obsessions/wrap-up post later so be on the look out for that! In March there will be some ch-ch-ch-changes to the blog, but I promise they’re all going to be pretty awesome.
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