Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Safe and Warm

I pad through the house, shutting off lights one by one. My head is heavy with thoughts.

Peeking into the kids' room, always my last stop before bed, I find my daughter lying awake, looking at the ceiling.

Tiptoeing up to the side of her bed, I lean down and whisper, "Can't sleep?"

Wide-eyed, she looks up at me. "My brain won't stop thinking, Momma," she says.

Sitting on the side of her bed, I stroke her hair.

"My project is due in nine days," she says, her lip quivering, "and I have a spelling test tomorrow.  Now it's late and I'm worried I won't ever fall asleep."

"My brain does this too," I whisper. 

I stroke her hair a while longer, and she closes her eyes.   "Think about right now, this very moment," I say. "You are safe and warm in your bed, the world is sleeping. Listen to the sound of your breaths.  Don't think about tomorrow; clear your mind."

"Say it over and over to yourself: safe and warm. I am safe and warm."

"Safe and warm," she murmurs.  "Safe and warm."  She reaches out and clutches my arm.  "Stay for a bit, Momma, please?"

I stay, whispering into her ear: You are safe. You are safe." 

Gradually, her grip on my arm relaxes, and her breathing slows to a steady rhythm.  She is asleep.

~~~~~

Later, my eyes fly open.  Outside the wind is howling, and I pull the covers up to my chin.   The middle-of-the-night thoughts scratch at the door; adult sized worries thumping to get in.  My world feels precariously perched, spinning like a top.  So much is unknown these days - test after test to try and diagnose the lump in my neck. An operation to remove my tonsils in six days.  Phrases like 'abnormal cells' ping through my brain. A cold finger of fear runs down my spine. 

I close my eyes and reach under the blanket, find my husband's strong warm body, and wrap my trembling fingers around his forearm.  I can feel the steady pulse of his heartbeat, hear the soothing sounds of his sleeping breaths. 

Safe and warm, I think.  Right now, in this moment, I'm safe and warm.  

Tomorrow's worries fade with each thump of his heartbeat. 

Slowly, slowly, I fall asleep, safe and warm in my bed.

~~~~~~


This post is part of Just Write, Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary's link-up where we, well, just write.  Come join us, by clicking here.

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful. I'm thinking of you.

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  2. You are such a gift to your daughter and the rest of your family for that matter. Praying peace finds you swiftly.

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  3. I loved reading this. I don't like reading about the tests and wondering. But take your own advice and I should too.

    We are safe and warm today.

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  4. So glad you are writing.

    What I say to myself when I wake up at those hours is "nothing at 2am is true. nothing I think at 2am is true. nothing I tell myself at 2am is true."

    Although "safe and warm" is nicer.

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  5. This hard time is filled with grace. Thank you for believing that it is worth sharing. All shall be well ...

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  6. Such a beautiful post. This will help me with my own middle-of-the-night worries. Sending you positive energy for your upcoming surgery.

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  7. In a whisper I say "thank you".

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  8. I wish we could all stay safe and warm forever. Thinking of you Ellie. Much love...

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  9. And you are. Safe and warm. And held by a whole lot of love.

    Thank you...

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  10. Beautiful Ellie.

    You have been in my thoughts and I am so happy to see your words again (selfish I know).

    I have these troubles, i focus on the know and I make things disappear, either with an eraser or paintbrush until it's just me in a completely white room...weird I guess but it's calming and gives me something else to focus on .

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  11. beautiful, relatable, transparent, intimate, reassuring... those are the words that come to mind. thank you for publishing this one. i need to use the safe and warm words with myself and my kids as we embark on the joint custody/moving out adventure this week. love and peace to you, my sweet friend.

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  12. oh lady. It's possible I started bawling my head off reading this.

    I love you and your busy and wise mind.

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  13. I am going to use that with my daughter, who is sometimes prone to anxiety and worry. I'm glad you have found a place of peace, if only for a moment.

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  14. He holds you in the palm of His hand. Thank you for sharing.

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