The past few nights I have not been sleeping well. It is perhaps due to returning to school after a vacation filled with late nights and sleeping in....if 7AM even counts as sleeping in?! I have a terrible habit of waking just enough, usually around 3 AM, to realize I have been rehashing in my sleep, some life event or worry that I should have given up to God long ago. Once that realization hits me, I can count on a couple hours of doing the same rehashing and worrying, now in a conscious state. Then the cat thinks it's time to get up and go out, next comes the dog, and eventually the alarm JUST as I am drifting back to sleep. Crazy right?!
Last night, during my tossing, turning, rehashing, and worrying, I remembered the darkest of nights when my daughter had night terrors as a child. One specific time was more than scary for all of us, when she began screaming for me. As I rushed to her bedside, I found her sitting up, wide eyed and calling, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" Attempting to scoop her into my arms, she unbelievably pushed me away, continuing to scream for Mommy. She was looking right at me, and she was afraid of me. In that moment we were BOTH crying, my little girl because she thought there was a witch in her room, and I because in her night terror she thought I was someone to be feared!
Night terrors are scary for all involved since the child appears to be awake, and can even walk and talk to you. They are in a dreamlike state, however, and unaware of their surroundings and any comfort you try to offer them. That night my little girl was inconsolable until the terror passed, and she was again sleeping soundly.
Following that horrific night, Katie had a difficult time going to bed alone. The stuffed golden retriever she had since her first birthday wasn't enough. The real golden retriever wasn't enough. Mommy and Daddy weren't enough. Prayers weren't enough. It was then we began a night time ritual we called Good Things. We talked about how dreams can be good and filled with fun. Our plan was to place those ideas, those good things, into her head as she was drifting off to sleep. So after prayers, and puppies, we would snuggle and as she was drifting off to sleep I would recite a long list of Good Things. From rainbows to starry skies, ice cream to fire flies, I whispered the good things that filled her head with love and sugarplums.
Our plan worked most of the time, and even as she grew out of the night terrors, she asked for years to hear the Good Things before she went to sleep. Since then I have promised to write her a book about our Good Things. But that is a story for another time.
A warm country hug to all,