It was three AM Sunday morning. More accurately 3:27. I know this because we have one of those clocks that project the time onto the ceiling like some sort of sadistic batman call sign. (In the wee hours of the morning, I tend to forget our rationale for buying it.) I could hear our toddler crying in his room. I closed my eyes, hoping in vain that he would settle himself down. If anything it increased in pitch and volume. To my side, I could hear the rhythmic breathing of my hubby still enjoying deep sleep. The toddler’s call wasn’t quite loud enough to rouse him – yet. Groan. It was up to me. Cursed mom ears, with their supersonic hearing, I thought to myself for the millionth time.
I stumbled down our hallway to the little guy’s room unwilling to turn on a light to help along the way. Opening the door, my son emitted one last loud cry before noticing that help had arrived. I’m not sure exactly what might have caused my son to wake up. Perhaps he had a nightmare, or maybe it was just the sound of the heat turning on that startled him. Who really knows what two-year-olds think about at night. The cause really didn’t matter. He was up and needed mom. I’m a fan of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Throne Series. The line, “for the night is dark and full of terrors” came to mind, as I picked him up and held him close.
Even though I was there he still he continued to whimper. I asked him what he needed, only to hear pitiful sounds in reply. A change of strategy was required. “Use your words,” I told him.
“I wan Monkey Man,” he answered (his reigning favorite toy). Of course he did. Sigh. Monkey Man is a small, flat, toy that is always hiding itself away. Why couldn’t my son have an obsession with a large, glow in the dark, GPS enabled toy that I could tether to the bed? Something woke him up and now he couldn’t find his friend. It was a catastrophe!
I told him that I would find it as I tucked him back into his bed. He looked up at me with a smile as I searched around the bedding, confident that all would be made right soon.
I located the little guy wedged between two other stuffed animals at the foot of the bed and handed it back to him. My toddler clutched his toy, snuggling next to with a sleepy grin as if he hadn’t just been wide awake and crying his eyes out five minutes before. All was once again right in toddlerland. I closed the door and tip toed back to my room where I proceeded to lie awake for the next twenty minutes.
There are many things that can keep me up at night. What if I am on the wrong track, what if I fail, what if something goes terribly, terribly wrong? How nice would it be if all my fears and doubts could be as easily silenced as my son’s. On those nights when I lie awake in a panic, does my mom still wake up wondering why her ears are tingling?
Of course none of that matters to the little boy down the hall. He doesn’t care that about what I do or don’t do well. All he cares about is that there is someone who will hold him tight when he’s afraid and help make everything right, and he adores me for it. It gives me a warm feeling that is almost worth the 3AM wake up call. Almost.
My boys will be grown and on their own in what will seem like a blink of the eye. I’ll soon know first hand whether or not mom ears ever lose their acute sense of hearing. If fears seem more terrible at night, at least I can take comfort knowing that as time flies by, dawn will arrive that much sooner, and with it, delicious coffee.