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.”