Mommy, I’m ready to go to bed now.
“Finally,” I think, after an hour long, fierce battle of wills. Just one more Caillou…I’m hungry….I want to cuddle…I’m not sleepy…
I grab frozen blood-worms and brine-shrimp from our freezer, a cup of soy milk, and Luca and I head upstairs to his room.
First, we feed his red fish, Red. Then, we move over to his other aquarium to feed his four African Dwarf Frogs: Luca Zapata’s Froggy 1, Luca Zapata’s Froggy II, Luca Zapata’s Froggy III, and Luca Zapata’s Froggy IV. Apparently, they are the George Foreman of frogs.
Luca rushes back to Red to click off the light and say night-night, then back to his frogs to tuck them in the same.
I turn the sound machine on, pull back the covers, and we both hop into bed.
Scratch my back, mommy.
Now, scratch my tummy.
Once the scratching has commenced, I search for the tag on his blankie, placing it gently between his thumb and index finger, so he can methodically rub it as he searches for sleep. It’s his thumb-suck.
I hand him his soy milk, and he says, “Don’t lay on my blankie, mommy.”
No, you don’t lay on my blankie, Luca.
He laughs loudly, like it isn’t the 100th time he’s heard this, “You don’t have a blankie, mommy.”
One big kiss, several squirms and grunts, then silence.
I lay next to him waiting, listening for his breath to fall into a rhythm that tells me it’s safe to sneak out of his room.
This is our ritual.
Every single night.
As I write these words, tears of pure joy run down my cheek, quickly followed by tears of sheer terror.
Terror of the unknown.
I was talking to my friend Jennifer the other day about the small, special rituals we share with our children.
I confessed to her the constant fear I carry around on my shoulders, that my kids could lose me way before I’ve carried them over into adulthood.
I’ve been scared of death from the moment I’ve found out what it meant. Not because I fear the unknown, but because I love living so much. And, now that I am a mother, because I love watching my kids live so much.
Sure, we’ve got all of our what-if papers in order. We did this right after the accident.
And I know, if something were to happen, that there plenty of people who will love them…as much as you can love someone whose not yours.
But, it’s those small, seemingly insignificant but-really-more-important-than-anything moments, that keep me awake at night.
Who would know to tell him, “No, you don’t lay on my blankie.”
Who would know that you have to pull the plug on the filter to let the frogs know it’s dinner-time, and then wait a couple of minutes until the food settles to turn it back on?
Sure, the frogs would get fed.
And, I know my kids would be loved.
But, none of it would be the way I do it…the only way my boys know it to be done.
The worst part of this worry-problem, is that there isn’t a solution for it.
That makes me panic….the desperation numbs me.
I shake my head back and forth, trying to knock these good for nothing thoughts out of my mind.
I tell myself that it can’t happen to me.
But, deep down I know the truth.
And, every single time, the realization shakes me to the core.