A Little Gratitude

Emma stealthily crept into Nic’s bed last night, without waking him and was found by Richard when he went to wake Nic at just minutes before 7:00AM this morning.

“Good job waiting!” Emma said as she bounded into our bedroom and snuggled under the sheets.

Richard, having spent well over an hour with her in the middle of the night getting her back to sleep, was in the other room.  I was getting dressed and said nothing.  I was at a loss for words.  She sounded so proud of herself.  Did she not understand that in fact, she had not slept in her own bed, had gotten up at just past midnight to come into our bedroom where she woke both of us up?  Did she no longer remember Richard went back to her bedroom with her and stayed there until after 1:00AM, making sure she was asleep before returning to our bed?  At some point after Richard left her she must have woken up once more and snuck into Nic’s bed, being sure not to wake him.  After all we told her she mustn’t wake Nic.  Technically she did not wake him, but she didn’t stay in her own bed either.

The night before she was up screaming, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Come!  Mommy come!”  Heart-rending cries, unbearable, the guilt in not responding overwhelmed me.

“I’ll get her,” Richard said, grimly.

For the past couple of nights now, Richard has gone to her before her screams woke Nic, sitting with her for more than an hour in the middle of the night.  Trying to calm her, trying to get her to understand we need to sleep, she needs to sleep, she cannot wake us.  Yet, she does anyway.  It is easy to feel discouraged, despair even, but the truth is, she is making progress.  The 2:30AM wake-up calls are now occurring just after midnight.  She is not wetting her bed.  She is (until last night) staying in her own bed, after Richard returns her to it.

“Mommy!”  Emma cried.  Five years ago, I would have given anything to have her cry out for me.  I would have given anything for her to acknowledge me at all.  Now she does and I groan.  It is Richard who bears the brunt of these middle of the night pleas.  It is Richard who suffers the next day, trying to defog his brain enough to make sense of the work before him.  It is Richard who stumbles through the day, trying to maintain a placid demeanor, not giving in to the impatience, despair and fear that lurk on the edge of his thoughts.

I must get my work done and leave the studio early today so as to be home in time to greet Nic’s bus at 3:45PM this afternoon, allowing Richard to go out with friends who are in town.  It is the least I can do.  I sit here in my studio gazing out at the Chrysler Building, feeling immense gratitude, gratitude for having a husband who places his family first, who demonstrates his love for us on a daily basis.  I am incredibly fortunate.

I have the luxury of enough sleep and a mind clear enough this morning (thanks to my husband) that I am able to remind myself, Emma is progressing.  It’s two steps forward, one step back, but she is making progress.

I don’t know how people do this without an active participating partner.

I cannot imagine.

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