I have insomnia. Chronic insomnia. And I’ve had it since I was 13 years old. Its not necessarily that I can’t fall asleep, its more like I have difficulty staying asleep. Its rough at times, like nights when I am stressed or sad or worried, and its a struggle just to get comfortable. But then there are times that I actually enjoy my sleepless nights because I feel productive and peaceful. When else can I tackle my to-do list, read, write, or just think without interruption?
Last night was one of those enjoyable nights. Although I didn’t retire until after midnight, I found myself looking at the clock at 2am. It reminded me of a funny thing that happened when Sparkle was 3 years old.
It was 2am when she came into my room. Thankfully, I was already awake, just as I was last night. So instead of trying to rush her back to bed, I was able to give her my full attention and affection. My insomnia allowed me to make a memory that will last my lifetime.
She was clearly distraught, nearly in tears. I scooped her up in my arms, squeezed her tightly, and asked her what was wrong, in my most loving and caring mama voice. She told me that (her favorite) “animal went in sink” and that she “can’t find it! I can’t see it!“. She broke into tears. I took her by the hand, walked her into the bathroom to look, then concluded that it must have gone down the drain. She started to cry harder as she tried to tippy-toe to see for herself, so I picked her up to comfort her again. She looked into the empty sink, then shifted her gaze to the mirror. Then she shouted “Oh I find it! It’s right here!”
Turns out it was in her hand the whole time! But she only realized it when she saw that she was holding it in her own reflection! We couldn’t help but laugh, as I showered her with kisses. And I’ll never forget how she looked at me when I tucked her back into bed. She stared deeply into my eyes with such a love and deep appreciation, that her eyes sparkled even more than usual. I asked her what was on her mind and she told me that she was happy because I cared. Not that I cared about her toy animal, but that I really truly cared about her.
And so today, as I begin my day with my family, I hope to remember that being the mom I aspire to be doesn’t mean that I have to pretend to care about what they care about. It simply means showing them that I genuinely care about them. It means being mindful of my response to them, my words, my intonation. It means stopping what I’m doing, getting down to their level, looking deeply into their eyes with an intent to connect. It means being present and in the moment, and conscious that so much of their self-worth is based on what they see when they stare at the Reflection in My Eyes.the little list