Christina M. Currie: Memory makers
October 19, 2007
Craig — One of my fondest childhood memories is of a late, late night coughing so much that I couldn’t sleep, but barely aware that I was awake. I remember my father coming in with cough syrup.
It seems so simple, but I still carry the memory of how that simple gesture made me feel.
Someone clear across the house was listening. Someone cared enough to get up, rummage for Nyquil and bring it to me.
And it’s that memory that makes it easier to get out of bed at 2 a.m. in response to my children’s tears, coughs or need for comfort.
When they penetrate that is.
Knowing that I can push snooze four times in a dead sleep without the slightest idea that I’m doing it doesn’t say much for my response time to my children. I’ve stumbled through the house in a daze with a cap full of Motrin enough to think that I’m not doing too bad.
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Six-year-old Nikki either crept soundlessly into my room or I was in a deep enough sleep that her presence wasn’t apparent until something in my mind triggered.
I opened my eyes to a figure standing above me and, I couldn’t help it, I screamed. Before the sound had even died, I reached out to hug her, scared to death that I had scared her to death.
Not my Nikki though. It didn’t even phase her. She was delivering a message – her sister wasn’t feeling good.
So I carried Nikki back to bed and brought 7-year-old Katie to mine. I thought that was just as good a cure as medicine. Until her chills shook the bed and she started tossing and turning. Then I exchanged love and comfort for the good stuff.
I’d like to think I made a memory.
And it was that thought that had me checking on the girls a few nights later. I felt Katie’s forehead and looked over at Nikki, who, as usual, had thrown off her blanket.
I picked it up and gently tucked it under her chin and my sleeping daughter slowly smiled.
I lit up like a nightlight. There was a moment that touched my heart. It didn’t matter that she was sleeping and wouldn’t remember this moment. I caused my child, in the deepest caverns of sleep, a reaction so touching that she just had to smile.
Then one eye popped open, that exploratory glance to see if I was still in the room.
The little faker.
Kids are masters of deception. Their strength lies in the fact that they’re rarely aware they’re doing it.
But her smile was still just as sweet, so I picked her up and carried her into bed with me. She snores, a habit that even Nyquil won’t dim.
As I struggled to sleep against the sound, and the fact that she kept kicking the covers off, I realized that we were making a memory.
She may never be able to pinpoint that night as one where she felt like she was heard and loved, but she will remember being loved.