Night Wakings


Mothering: Age 16     by Nancy Schatz Alton

The night waking evolves & it’s almost like a miracle to be needed by you even as I’m still figuring out how to make it up as I go along. This parenting is like a run-on sentence with no grammar fix because if I pile up enough words I might be able to explain both the confusion and the beauty. How at night the mind plays tricks on everyone: there’s enough darkness to cover all of us. Thankfully there’s enough blankets and limbs and laughter, too. I’ve learned enough to cue up the funny meditation and to really, really enjoy the laughter that erupts from both of us. “If you’re listening to this in the morning, that’s wrong,” says the meditation master during the getting-to-sleep track.

We are getting to sleep together, and I’ve learned to be quiet. Some nights I apply what I’ve learned and other nights I’m reaching into the unforgiving dark and hoping the wall catches my head. If I bang my head against the wall I would do it again, so I could hear a beat. Instead I make a beat out of my breathing and hope that if I am calm enough, my daughter can match my breath. If we breathe slowly together, we’ll meet this dark night by eventually falling asleep.



2 thoughts on “Night Wakings

  1. It is usually at bedtime the 14 year old decides to confide in us. Maybe 15 minutes after everyone, even himself, has gone to bed he comes back into our room, in tears or very near them, upset, angry, whatever. This is when he is the most vulnerable, the most able to be honest with us. It is exhausting. We don’t waver, we are open to him. Because the other option would be … ? To shut him out? We are just glad he still feels he can come to us and we have to foster that at any age. That way when they have problems later in life they will share them, not just with us, but with their eventual partner, and then eventually be there for their own kids.

    1. I always feel lucky, no matter what time it is. And lately I try to hold everything lightly, not making too much of a big deal. Just knowing how amazing it is to be in relationship with m y amazing kids.

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