Her hair bristles on the back of her neck as she hears the distant whimper roll down the hallway like thunder. As she braces and climbs the steep mountain of stairs in front of her she is overcome with concern, distress and guilt. Concern for the wellbeing of her infant son she anxiously rushes to care for, distress over the exhaustion she feels wondering how she’ll survive another sleepless night tending to her young child, and guilt for the small sliver of herself that wishes she was tucked into bed alone, living a life where no one relied on her for anything.
As she reaches the last step, rounds the corner and reaches towards the door and the future evening that awaits her, she lets her emotions, weak and strong, roll over and off her shoulders like a warm summer rain. She opens the door and the cries hit her heart in the darkness like a dagger. The cool mist created by her sons elephant themed humidifier fills the air and kisses against her aging skin, reminding her exactly where she is in that present moment. Her eyes, the eye of a seasoned mother, adjust immediately in the darkness as she weaves and winds through the dim-litted minefield ahead of her; children’s toys, blankets and furniture occupying every space available in the expanse ahead. As she reaches the edge of the crib and looks down on her son, she meets tear soaked eyes looking up at her and her heart breaks and rebounds in an instant. Every natural instinct pushes her towards him and into her arms, and despite his grief and her concern, everything feels right in the world as his warm body becomes wrapped safely in her arms. She fumbles to gather and carry her son and his priceless possessions he cannot be soothed without; his blanket affectionately named “bee-bee” and his fuzzy frog friend named “Fro”. In some small miracle she manages to assemble the comforting crew, her son and”Bee-bee” herself and slowly slides the lot into her rocking chair. She begins rocking, the familiar clicking taps in time as she glides back and forth, back and forth and soothes her soul, much like “Bee-bee” soothes her son. She can smell the scent of pine and wool radiating from her old chair and she can’t help but feel at home and thankful for this rocker. Without this chair she would not have survived, without it she would have fallen apart. She remembers the many long nights with a sick baby pressed against her chest in this chair, she appreciates it as the single reason a few disconnected hours of sleep were achieved, night after night, week after week, month after long month. It kept her warm and safe, and her son warmer and safer within her arms, lulling him to sleep when even a mother alone will not do. Her heart warms knowing that this chair has cared for and held her, like she for her son, and for that she is grateful.
As she finds herself at home, her son falls deeper into her chest and her thoughts fall back to him. Everything feels right in the world, there is nothing more perfect than a mother and child bonded together in love. She coos to him, cuddling, kissing and rocking his tired, upset little body into calm. They draw a silent line between each other, one battling for sleep, the other willing to stay awake under his mothers watchful gaze a few moments longer. The battle of fatigue and determination has begun and like almost all nights before, albeit long nights, the side of fatigue fairs in her favour.
Her soft sweet voice and the click and lull of her sturdy chair rock him further and further into dreamland. With every click he falls further, he dreams more vividly, he compresses deeper into her, and she only feels more and more complete. There is no feeling more overwhelmingly perfect than a mother holding her child against her, placating his every fear, need and worry. In this moment every mother knows her ideal place, her purpose, she feels more complete here than anywhere else.
As he drifts into dreamland and she looks down lovingly on his sleeping face, she is in awe of his perfection. She helped create and nourish him each and every day, He’s her whole world, he’s her purpose, her drive, he is everything she could ever want in this peaceful dream filled moment and she savours the silence and the beauty for a few moments longer… she too can stay awake no longer and they drift off as one, until the rocker stills and the silence of the once familiar clicking ceases and forces her to wake once again, clicking back to the reality of life and her current situation.
When she’s absolutely sure he’s deeply asleep, she whisks him away from her heart and back into bed. As she tip toes from the room a piece of her heart, her body, her mind yearns to be with him again, protecting him, caring for him and holding him safely in her arms. As that fleeting moment fades, her exhaustion takes hold and she returns to her own safe haven, her personal hideaway and the security of her own bed and blankets, all of which are rarely used as often as they should have been. Here she feels a different kind of peace roll over her and she eagerly drinks up the tranquility and calm that is created here. Motherhood for a moment has paused, and she takes in a few short freeing breaths of silence and then sinks deeply into her unused pillows. She pulls her covers up tight, finds her ultimate comfort and finally gives herself over to a deep and peaceful sleep…
She’s abruptly awakened. The cries radiating out through the darkness filling the room like thunder….