Sitting on the floor in the dark, my right leg falls asleep. The tingling prompts me to readjust my position. I lean forward, rest my elbow on her bed and listen to her sorrowful heart.
Norah sits amid a jumble of sheets and talks in a voice too loud for this time of night.
"I just can't sleep. I've been trying and trying for, like, three hours and I can't. I'm so tired, but my mind won't let me."
"Shhh. I know. Lay down and I'll rub your back." Again.
"I tried laying down. Just like you told me. I laid there and breathed and could feel my body start to melt and then my eyes popped open and it was like my brain said, 'Hey! What time is it!?' and then I was awake again."
"I know. Let's try it again."
"I did it and it didn't work. It's been two hours!"
"Sweetie ... let's try once more."
Grudgingly she lays her head on the zebra pillow. Peeking at the clock, all I can see is the red glow against the wall. She's turned those angry, accusing numbers away, attempting to dismiss the slow loneliness of her sleeplessness.
I attempt to encourage her ... you will fall asleep, you're okay, relax, Jesus is here, I'm with you. Even in the dark those words shed no light on her restlessness. Her frustration and anxiety are evidenced in her shaky voice and trembling hands.
"Lay back and let's count again."
"I counted back from 300 and it didn't work."
"Come on, Honey. Lay down."
I stifle my own mocking yawn and lay my hand on her chest. Her breathing rises and falls slowly and rhythmically. I hear her whisper, "199 ... 198 ... 197 ...196"
There in the dark I come face-to-face with just how much Norah is like me and our mutual stubbornness challenges the quiet. There on the floor I meet head-on the reality of my own selfish sleepiness as I long for the comfort of my bed. There at Norah's side I collide with my limitations as a mom and I grieve the many challenges of life from which I will be powerless to protect my children.
Nestled between her numbers, "182 ... 181 ... 180 ..." I hide my own hopefulness.
"Jesus, be with Norah. Bring peace and rest. Quiet her heart and mind. I trust her to you. Again."
Linking up with The Red Dress Club. This week's prompt was the word "Collision". This painful episode is true ... yet another moment in my mothering in which I wish I had learned the Vulcan neck grip.