Night Time Rescues

My eyes spring open, they are hot. My eyeballs are actually hot. Or maybe burning, yeah, burning sounds about right. A quilt of darkness shadows the room and my hands instinctively go for the bedroom lamp.  Someone is screaming my name.

My heart begins pounding rapidly once that filmy layer of sleep slips off of my conscience. I listen to her shrieks as though they are the only sound I have or will ever hear. I fumble for some pants, a long shirt, something because my brain is telling me relentlessly that I must get to her immediately.

Jamie rolls over, “what’s wrong” he sees me struggling and I can see the panic and confusion setting in behind the sleepiness of his eyes.

“Sophie is screaming.” I say as I step out of the room. He is behind me within seconds.

We make it downstairs and our daughter is huddled under her blankets. She screams, “MOM!” and the urgency in her voice sends a shiver down my spine.

“Whats wrong baby?” I ask as I snug my body next to hers.

“I had a nightmare.” She says emerging from the protection of her blanket cocoon. She is sobbing and it makes even her words sound wet.

I glance at Jamie, go back to bed Hun, I say without saying anything at all. Everything is okay now. He leans over and kisses his daughter on the forehead.

I don’t ask what her dream was about, kid nightmares are typically the worst. Their imagination is still so unsullied and ripe, even their good dreams are scary as shit. Instead I wrap my arms around her and try to make her feel safe so sleep will come easy.

I really don’t want to fall asleep in her bed because Sophie may very well be the worst person to share a bed with in the entire universe. She kicks and moves and sometimes merely crawls directly on top of you because your body seems to work as a better mattress than the actual mattress.

So I will myself not to sleep. As an alternative I think about motherhood. I think about how seconds ago when my daughter was calling for me it was the only thing that could have mattered in that moment. I think about how the label, “mom” has become synonymous with day to day life but also a sentiment of caring that is far too profound to even try to begin to explain to the layperson.

I think about how the stresses of money and work and all of that day to day hullabaloo doesn’t begin to compare to how I felt in that instant when I didn’t know why my daughter was screaming in the dead of night.

I squeeze her a little tighter and hear her flush breathing of sleep. I slowly get up to leave when she sleepily wraps her arms around my neck and says, “I love you so much Mom. Thanks for rescuing me.”

I want to tell her that her and Lars have saved me, time and time again. Their existence is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. I want to say that I love them beyond comprehensible logic. I want to tell her that our little family is mine and her Dad’s reason for fighting so hard in this life so of course I will rescue her.

However, I think that may be a bit overkill. Sleep is about to take her again soon so for now I reply with, “Any time my love, any time at all.”

The Nightmare That Was Christmas

IMG_0013I have never been one to ‘hate’ Christmas.

In complete reality I’d say I am pretty much an all-out all-star when it comes to this festive season. I drag out the cheerful decorations at an appropriate December 5th date- I am not one of the diehards that garnish my home with thousands of lights and blow-up Saint Nick paraphilia starting November 1st. No, I’m a class act broad and in turn keep my paper chains classy too.

I do my part in donating during the holidays to ensure everyone can enjoy in this jovial time of year. So you certainly can’t call me a scrooge. I’ve made celebratory preserve baskets to gift to people this year. I wrote my Christmas cards. I even enjoy the odd Christmas carol.

The point is I rock at Christmas. It is something I pride myself in- I’m actually good at it. So again I will dare to say, I have NEVER and NEVER will be one of those grumpy Gus’ whom hate Christmas time.

I just won’t do it.

***

I must be stuck in a goddamn lucid dream. This cannot be reality- there is a kitten in a top hat playing the piano in my mother’s basement. I am sitting on the floor cross-legged and juvenile admiring this tabby’s incredibly deft…paws?

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But it is not this sight or the fact that he plays Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer in perfect tenor on the baby grand that allows me to recognize that I am dreaming. No, it is the fact that my brother, Dustin, hangs upside-down and ominous in the far left hand corner of the room staring at me vehemently…Sort of like this: 

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To make matters worse he is humming Santa Clause is Coming to Town as he holds that stare. He drones the tune alarmingly well.

Alarmingly well.

What does he hang upon? You may be asking yourself at this time (because if you aren’t I’d be wondering what’s wrong with you). Well he is suspended by the shiny tinsel that mimics a string of web coming out of his bulbous rear end. My brother’s bottom half currently resembles that of an awfully decorated Christmas spider. There he is glowering. Humming his Christmas tune. Just glowering and humming.

I feel unnerved.

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I know this is a dream, I know it will end eventually. But I am unable to end it myself- I am trapped. The room flickers and before I know it there are green and red Christmas lights flashing all around me, reminiscent to a motherfucking Christmas disco scene. The two different songs coming at me (from the cat’s piano and my half-arachnid brother) are driving me mad and then the cat’s head begins to eerily turn to face me in a how-is-that-not-snapping-its-neck unnatural way.  

I hear something- someone making their way down the flight of stairs to my right. I try to yell out to them for help, or maybe to warn them not to enter into this room of holiday hell. The words are lost because as I open my mouth I am stunned into submission when 3 French hens come flapping out. I didn’t even know they were in there in the first place.  

What is happening?

Then 10 men who are dressed in fancy pantaloons liquefy through the walls and begin a unified ballet of sorts. They leap to and fro as if it is the one thing they had ever been meant to do. I am struck on the head THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP with five large and substantially heavy rings. But it isn’t until I hear the drums begin to wail in the stairwell that I realize I am living out the 12 days of Christmas.

‘Tis the season to be institutionalized.

I glance to my brother to see if he is seeing this all too. He is. And he is still a spider only now he has switched from Santa Claus Is Coming To Town to Feliz Navidad and he uses his hands to dance- inspiring a ‘festive’ sort of vibe.

WAKE UP!!!! I scream to myself but to no avail. I begin to panic more than a little because what if I am stuck in this insanity forever? What if this is my punishment for being so awesome at Christmas- to live in an eternal loop of yuletide shenanigans.

A woman in rags approaches me. 7 other women looking identical trail her and all of them hold a large sweating glass of milk in their hands. She leans in close to me, too close for comfort as I can taste the putrid hint of dairy all over her warm breath as it hits my nose.

She then begins to blurt out Jingle Bells- but with a sort of lisp and extremely off key.

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I shut my eyes tight and try to imagine a better place. An anti-Christmas place. I can’t take it anymore. The seizure inducing lights, the imposter family members, the scandalous excuse for a reproduction of The Twelve Days of Christmas- It is all absurdity!

Suddenly all goes quiet expect for the sounds of Jingle Bells being exhaled upon my tense façade. I open my eyes and there is Sophie and inch away from my sleep filled eyes. I am in my bedroom. Husband sleeps soundly next to me.

There is not a fucking Christmas Decoration as far as the eye can see.

And I realize it’s never too late to say, NEVER.

We Got Crabs!

The first bellow of ‘Mama’ wakes me up. Not quickly, but in a slowly pulling apart the eyelids, while dreading the idea of having to remove myself from the cozy flannel sheets sort of way.  It is the second scream that announces to me that this is no usual midnight milk run. The girl’s yelps are sharp and unusual, I can feel the fear in her voice.

It is on the third shriek which comes close after the second that I pull my lacklustre body out of bed and plod towards my daughter’s bedroom.

Upon entering the little lady’s boudoir, I find her pressed tightly up against her beds headboard repeating the mantra, “I hate dose cwabs, I hate dose cwabs…” over and over again.

“What’s wrong, Sophie?” I ask now quite concerned after seeing her…I still can’t make out what she is saying though.

“Mama!” She looks and sounds relieved to see me (which makes me feel pretty good, despite the circumstances). “I hate dis cwab in my bed…He need go home.” My poor baby sobs uncontrollably.

Maybe it is because it is 2:30 in the morning, or maybe it is because I can feel the tickle of a head cold coming on, but I still cannot for the life of me make out what she is saying.

“What Sweetie? Who needs to go home?” I ask as soothingly as I can.

“THE CWAB, HE KEEPS WAKING ME UP!”

“Crab?” I click in.

“Ya, he bugging me!” She continues crying and it is at this point that I realize she must have just had…Or still is- having a dream.

“Ok my love, Mama will get rid of Mr. Crab ok.”

“Thanks Mama.”

I then begin to pick up the imaginary crab and throw it outside her door. This I thought would provide enough solace for the girl to fall back into dreamland…But in reality only causes her more angst!

“HE GOING TO CRAWL BACK IN MY ROOM!” The thought is obviously more terrifying, than the initial crab was and I am getting more and more exhausted with each crab chucking fiasco.

So I ask, “Well what would you like me to do with the Crab Sophie?!”

The 3 year old girl looks me straight in the eyes, her face is shadowed from the dim light of her pink faux fur covered lamp and she explains, “You put him outside….So he freezes to death.”

Oh well then, why the hell didn’t I think of that.

So there I begin, picking up make-believe invisible crabs (because now there is more than one) and moving all the way towards the patio door to throw them outside so they will freeze to death.  The most insane part of it all is, even when I am out of the girls sight I still hold my hands 6 inches apart in a clutching position as though I am holding the crab in question.

I am in about 5 crabs deep, when Sophie advises me that there is one close on my heels…And I jump at the thought of a bastard crab crawling that close to me. For a split second I am thinking, ‘I have to get rid of these fucking crabs, they’re everywhere! What the hell am I going to do?’

I begin frantically throwing my head to and fro trying to see these crabs that my daughter speaks of.

CRABS, CRABS….SO MANY CRABS!

It is then that I realize sleep deprivation is starting to kick in. So I pick Sophie up out of bed, and tell her that we are going to sleep in bed with Daddy.

She responds with, “Good idea Mama, Daddy protect us from the cwabs.”

For the remainder of the night, I dream of crabs and it is unnerving and uncomfortable…Especially since Sophie is shoving her feet in my face and I am believing it is a fat little crab making its way towards my brain.  When I wake up, I realize that Sophie and I are finally safe from the nightmares of crabs; but hope to God that I never have to fight off the blasted things in the darkness hours again.

Because sometimes, even the most imaginary creepy crawlies can send a shiver up your spine.