I think the other night Caroline had what is called a night terror. I had heard about these, but never really experienced one until last Sunday night. She was sleeping between my husband and me in our bed. Out of a sound sleep, I was awoken by screaming and the flailing of 3-year-old limbs. I immediately reached out and patted her as I always do when she cries out, but she was not comforted. She continued to scream.
I tried to wake her and tell her to be quiet. I’m ashamed to say I was actually mad at her b/c I was afraid she was gonna wake Rebecca, and we are doing the horrible CIO thing at the moment (a long story), and I didn’t want to endure that torment. But Caroline was so hysterical that I soon figured out she wasn’t really awake, so I calmed myself and took her downstairs where her screaming wouldn’t wake the baby, and there I was able to get her to settle pretty quickly by talking calmly and rocking her.
When she was no longer screaming and flailing, I instinctively started humming Brahms Lullaby, which I had always used to sing her to sleep when she was an infant. That sparked this horribly sentimental moment in which I was carried back to the nights that I’d sing The Lullaby to her over and over while trying to get her to sleep when she was a baby.
I spent many a night walking the floors of her room in our former home, holding her close, and singing The Lullaby, willing her to go to sleep. Of course when I opened my eyes and looked down in the darkness, I didn’t see that sweet infant but instead found this giant 3-year-old sprawled across my lap. And the warm head that I held against my cheek wasn’t the fuzzy head of a baby, but the curly head of a preschooler. Right there, in the middle of the night, I felt myself start to tear up. Those nights in our old house seem like a lifetime ago.
It was a bittersweet moment because although for now I can still hold her and sing to her, it won’t be too awfully long before she’ll be too big for that at all. Then I realized that as much as I miss those days of holding her as a baby, I love her as a preschooler, and I just have to cling to the hope that as she grows I will continue to love her more at each stage, even when she doesn’t care for me to hold her on my lap and sing The Lullaby anymore.