To the child who will not sleep,
In the black stillness of midnight,
You are still awake even though I have long turned out the light,
I say to you like I do every night, “Please, honey, please try to go to sleep.
You don’t need to be an asshole to make Mommy weep!”
There was so much bloody whining, and our daily “I am not sleepy” fight,
And that stupid bedtime story, 1000 times which you made me read tonight.
I hear the tears in my own voice, “Please, honey, just tonight, go the bloody hell to sleep.
I hope you know that good wine is not cheap!”
It is another sleepless night ahead,
I am already buried and 100% doorknob dead.
“Please, honey, it’s Mommy who fricking needs some coffee.
Not you and it’s definitely not time for your goddamn potty!”
How many more tonights do I have to bear?
How many sleepless nights have I already cried out, “oh sh*t” in despair?
“Please honey, we have so many things to do tomorrow, so please please can you try,
Or the only thing Mommy will end up doing tomorrow is having a big fat cry.”
So many nights I crawled, exhausted to the bones, into my own bed,
Not long after, I am jabbed in my head.
“Please honey, not my bed tonight, not this time,
Mommy is so damn close to committing a most hideous crime.”
You do not hear me as into my bed you creep,
A leg, a foot and a tiny face, I know that I will have no more sleep.
“Please, honey, why do you always do this?
Will you just stop trying to take a piss!”
I can hear the tiny tears in his voice but my patience has been long been mislaid,
“Please Mommy, there are monsters in my closet and under my bed.”
I become so horribly angry as I turn my body away, “Oh god, not this sh*t again.”
I am just so bloody tired, so tired of this never-ending sleepless pain.
How can I be your loving mother when I am always so fricking tired?
I can’t think, move, or do anything Mommy-ish that is required.
The next morning, you’re all sugar highed Arnotts biscuit fine and Peppa pigged dandy
And I am the Walking Dead Mommy who has given up all hope of having any clean panties.
A little hand looks for mine,
but I refuse. I have to draw the line.
You reach out and you touch my back ever so slightly,
You still find comfort and sleep even when I am being most unkindly.
I cry out in silent anguish, and I reach for my phone.
To feel the comfort of one person, of only her and her alone.
I remember her from my own nights when I could not sleep,
Sick from worry, blind from anxiety, and in my own pain so deep.
I remember the times I felt safe,
In my mother’s words, always in her warm embrace.
Many a nights, I myself have climbed into her bed, jabbing her ribs with my feet.
Her soft touch, her body, her smell, it was just her, always her who is my safe retreat.
“Please honey, please try…”, I hear her say and now I totally get it.
How utterly privileged I am to be my child’s rock when his world throws a fit.
He is only little for a short time yet and his bedtime woes will soon fade,
But I am building him a safe retreat that will never age.
I am his safety, his rock, and his Mother, always dressed in a cape so red,
I am the only one who can save him from the monsters in his head.
Just like my mother for me, I am so lucky to be the one for him,
The one he will always come to when his life is filled with sorrow to the brim.
I turn my body to face him, for one more embrace,
My heart fills with his warmth as I let my finger trace his tiny face.
He does test me so with fire and spirit.
But I will always have so much love for him even when I am in knee deep sh*t.
I will always come, my love, my child, whenever you cannot sleep,
Whether you’re 3, 23 or 73, whenever you call for me with a need.
I will still mutter under my breath, ‘Bloody hell, what is it this time?’
But know that I will be there to say, each and every time, “Please honey, please try…you can do this. I have enough love for you to last your lifetime.”
© ELT 2016. All rights reserved.