At 2:30AM this morning, Emma appeared at the side of our bed. “Carousel photos?” she asked, her voice tense with agitation.
“Em,” I began in a quiet voice.
“It’s okay,” she interrupted me. “Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay.”
“Yes, Em. That’s right and right now it’s time to go back to sleep.”
“Photos!” she said with urgency. It was clear, she felt I was not taking her seriously enough.
“Yes, I know Em. We will find them tomorrow, I promise, but right now you have to go back to bed,” I said getting up.
“It’s okay,” Emma repeated as she took my hand and allowed me to lead her back to her bedroom where both the lights were on as well as a lit flashlight, lay on her bed, amidst piles of books and photographs.
It looked as though she’d been up for quite some time, before making her way into our bedroom as a last ditch effort to find the missing photograph.
She carefully took her blanket from it’s designated pouch and pushed all the books and pictures from her bed to the ground. “Time to go to sleep,” she said.
“That’s right Emmy. It’s going to be okay.”
“No school bus,” she said.
“Yes, you have school in the morning, but it’s time to go to sleep now and we’ll find your photo in the morning,” I said, turning out the light. I sat with her for a second, listening to her breath. “I love you Em,” I said and then I left.
As I made my way back to our bedroom, I marveled at the fact Emma was not screaming, not even a whimper could be heard from her room. She had returned to her own bed, having obsessed about a missing photograph, which months ago would have been enough to set her off for a good two or more hours. Perhaps even more incredible was the fact she went back to sleep, not to rise again until after the rest of us had awakened.
These are the seemingly small events, which added together create a larger picture of progress.
This morning when I got up I noticed a pile of her photographs on the seat of the armchair in our bedroom. I picked them up and put them near Emma’s bedroom door. About ten minutes later Emma appeared, carrying the pile of photographs. “You found them!” She exclaimed. Though I knew she meant that she’d found them and her relief was all too apparent.