Tuesday, March 13
Middle of the Night Meanderings
Monday night I got about four hours of sleep.
Four hours of sleep? Do you have a newborn in the house? A sick child? Is that some new approach to trying to get more out of your day?
Nope. Nope. Nope and definitely NO WAY!
I'm a momma who needs her sleep. Eight hours a night and a cat nap during the day and I'm doing o.k., anything less than that...oh boy. Irritable. Cranky. Memory loss...Um, my cell phone number? Huh? Wait, hold on, I think it's in my phone right here. Let me just look it up.
The problem is, the kiddos come along and all sorts of crazy things start to compete with your desire to sleep. Things like alligators trying to eat fingers, or spray paint bottles filled with colored paint ruining your party dresses.
What, no alligators at your house?! Where is the fun in that?!
Those two examples are mere tidbits of the stories my husband and I have received in the middle of the night this week; our daughter, who is almost 5 has the craziest imagination while she is sleeping. We go through phases where all is well and peaceful and then...and then...the dreams start again.
I imagine it has to do with her growing, or changing, or transitioning in some way. At times I've thought that maybe it had to do with the amount of television she was watching or angry birds she was playing (yes, yes...I confess...though I had very little to do with it! My husband showed her how to play Angry Birds on his i-pad).
We've prayed. We recite Bible verses. We read happy stories to her before bed. Some nights, all is well. Others, not so much.
Monday night was a not so much kind of night. I had a hard time falling asleep (because I'm female and I have these things called hormones that wreak havoc on anything and everything sometimes!), and then, just about the time I started to fall asleep, the shrieks began...
"Mommy. Daddy. Mommy. Daddy. I NEEEDDD YOU!"
The next two hours were a blur. Scott tried to comfort her. I tried to comfort her. Back and forth, back and forth. Finally I stumbled back towards bed and just as I was saying, "Scott, there is no way she is going to fall asleep without one of us next to her," she was standing next to me with her pillow.
I conceded to letting her sleep in our bed with Dad (he's a heavier sleeper and more likely to be able to make it through sleeping with a wiggly 4 1/2 year old) and I took my pillow and ended up under her pink coverlet, surrounded by teddy bears on all sides.
It's easy to get irritable in the middle of the night, but I happen to know a thing or two about bad dreams, and fear and anxiety.
While no one ever addressed it with me as a child, when I look back I had all sorts of crazy things going on...fears about movies I had seen (waiting for the Blob to come and get me), fears that I would be fatally poisoned merely because I walked on the neighbor's grass which had been sprayed by ChemLawn (I wouldn't wear those sneakers for months), fears of lyme disease if a character in a book had suffered from it, wild dreams about the end of the world, and an odd assortment of other things in between.
So, here I am, with a little blond haired blue-eyed angel faced child who is full of fear in the middle of the night. I'm reliving parts of my childhood all over again, and as an adult trying to figure out what would have been most helpful.
Love. Perfect love.
1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear."
Oh my. How does an imperfect momma offer perfect love...at 2:15 in the morning?!
Through a God who is way bigger than my imperfect love, mine and my husband's tired words, and bigger and stronger than all of my daughter's crazy dreams put together.
That's what we try to tell her in the middle of the night. That is what we will keep telling her. It is the only thing that ultimately has power to conquer her fears.
A friend recently recommended a book called Go Away, Dark Night by Liz Curtis Higgs.
We've been reading it to her. She gets a big smile on her face when we do...she smiles because little Griffin ( the boy in the book) is feeling the same way she is. She smiles because her heart recognizes the truth that God IS bigger than the dark, her fears, her dreams (which is what Griffin comes to realize by the end of the book). I LOVE that words written on a page by an author who had them on her heart, meet my little girl in the deepest places of her heart (Is that not why those of us who love to read and write keep reading and writing!).
She smiles because she believes it during the day. Now we'll keep working on it when she wakes up at night.
I smile because even though I know I'm an imperfect parent, we have a heavenly father whose love is big enough and perfect to cover it all.
And that's all we need.
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