Originally posted in HerWord on September 12, 2013
Alphonse woke up close to two in the morning. He tried to rouse his dad to go to the bathroom with him but this time, I was ready for him. I woke up as soon as he had gotten out of his bed so I was able to head him off right away. I took him to the bathroom to pee and brought him back inside the room. Despite my entreaties, however, he didn’t want to go back to his bed so he ended up right smack in the middle again, the three of us sharing a rather cramped king-sized bed. I turned off the night light, tucked him with an extra comforter, and hummed lullabies. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Or at least, he tried to. He closed his eyes and nothing happened. He couldn’t sleep. He yawned so often that I knew he was still sleepy, but judging by the way he fidgeted like crazy, it was easy enough to deduce that the Sandman wasn’t going to come back without a little help. Thirty minutes of having him toss and turn every which way and scratching his head and ears silly, I knew I needed to do something or else we would be awake the whole night.
I opened my arms to him and whispered his name. With the ease of partners of a lifetime journey, he laid his head in the crook of my arms. I ran my fingers over his hair, over and over and over again, humming wordless lullabies. Long minutes later, I heard his deep contented snoring. It was three in the morning when he finally went to sleep.
I laid awake in the dark after that. A stray thought clung to my mind and nagged at me. Years from now, when my husband and I are gone, Alphonse will wake up to another night like this, and who will help him sleep then? Who will reassure him that he is always loved and wanted? Who will patiently change him when he wets his bed and himself? And then the enormity of this future suddenly enveloped me, this crushing weight of uncertainty. This long dark look at those years in the future when Alphonse will be an old adult stared right at me in the face. I felt helpless. I felt angry. And before I knew it, I was sobbing, crying for a lost future of bright possibilities for the son I love more than my own life.
This morning, we woke up at six, wet from urine. Alphonse had wet the bed again, drenching our mattress, pillows, and sheets. The darkness of those early morning hours was gone. All that was left was this ache in my heart, so easily filled by the apologetic kisses of an embarrassed young man.
I don’t know what the future holds for us. All I know is what is here and now. And for now, we are all he needs. We are all he has.
Indulge this mother her tears. Sometimes all I really need is a good cry.