We have been racking up on sleepless nights. The diagnosis is a simple runny nose. The symptoms are continuous coughing, gagging on post nasal drip, and the vomiting. We are burning through sheets, pjs, and carpet cleaner, but this is nothing new. This is every runny nose and something that is par for course around here.
I am a light sleeper, I hear everything. A blessing and a curse. I am usually awaken by coughing. I lay there listening, try to gage how bad it is and where it's going. Then the alarm sounds. Wrapped around Maaike's big toe is a laser sensor, glowing red, sending second by second oxygen levels and heart rates. If the numbers are below satisfactory the alarm starts to sound. Still I lay in bed. I'm waiting to see if the alarm stops, maybe caused by a long breath or a kick of the foot. I wait for two sounds of the alarm, if it goes to a third I'm up at her bed side. But last night there was no cough or alarm that woke me at this moment. This time she was calling for me, yelling for mommy.
When I got to her crib she was visibly unset. I started to brush back her crazy locks with my hand and asked her what was the matter.
"Bad dream. I had a bad dream."
"Oh no." I said, "What happened?"
"My friends were making fun of me."
My heart sank.
I continued to smooth back her hair until she was back to sleep. I climbed back into my bed too, but I couldn't fall back to sleep for she had just spoken of one of my worst nightmares.
Miss Maaike is only two years old, three in May, so I can only imagine she was repeating something she heard one of her siblings say or that she was speaking of being teased in the most general sort of way, but I can't imagine that this is the last time I will hear those words and it will mean the most specific and hurtful sort of way.
The momma bear in me wants to protect her from every stare or rude comment. I want to get vigilantly on any kids on the play ground who point or tease. But I know, "sigh", I know I can't.
I cannot be the sword of revenge. I must be the voice of confidence. I cannot be the wrath of undeserved pains. I must be the love of healing. I cannot be there for every unkind thing done. But I will strive to prepare her to know of her beauty, to be radiant, to be strong.