"What was your favourite part of the day today?"
"I don't know."
He was tired. He'd been up for 14 hours. Much too tired for this Mother's eager end of day questioning.
I pulled him in close and kissed his cheek. "This is my favourite part of the day."
"Of-course. Snuggling with you is always my favourite." As I lay there, his breathing turning deep and even, a memory popped into my mind. My heart constricted.
I really, really miss my Mum. It seems like I haven't seen her in forever. Or 3 months to be more precise. This memory that came to me out of the blue was such sweet comfort that my mind's eye peeked in towards it closer recalling the sights, the smells, the squeals.
It was a grade seven school trip to a summer camp-cabin getaway for a few nights. The name of the camp started with an H but other than that I can't remember the name of it. My Mother, for the first time that I can recall, had volunteered to be a supervisor.
My Mother is not your typical Mother in that she's really not all that maternal. She is the type of Mother - even then - that didn't talk down to you no matter what your age. Of-course she was loving and caring - there were always I love you's and hugs in our home. She was a single mom who worked her butt off to raise her children in the best way she could. It was rare for her to take the time off work to volunteer for my school. Let alone looking out for a bunch of squealy 12 year old girls. (Now that was brave...I listen to 12 year old girls talk nowadays and just cringe.) My Mum volunteering, especially for something like this, simply wasn't something I had ever expected her to do. But I loved that she did. And now as a Mother I appreciate it even more.
The days at the camp were very un-school-like and super fun. We hiked through creeks, had bonfires and skits at night, played games. Of-course a few of us girls got into trouble from the teachers for going over to the boys cabins and had to stand at the flag pole for punishment for what seemed like FOREVER. I remember griping to my Mom when she came over to us standing around the forbidden flag pole about how lame it was that we got into trouble. It wasn't like we went IN their cabins. We were just talking to them through their windows! So lame. My Mum laughed and shrugged her shoulders. Rules were rules.
That night in our tiny little rustic cabin, curled into our sleeping bags on 4 sets of bunk beds, a few of the girls were having hard time falling asleep.
They were homesick. Missed their Moms.
And of-course our cabin was haunted.
Clangity, clang, clang, clang!
Cue high pitched twelve year old girls screams as they all jumped and huddled in one bed.
The coat hangers! The coat hangers on the opposite side of the cabin were moving on their own! (we couldn't see a thing in the pitch black but of-course it was the ghost haunting us)
Eventually the dramatics subsided. Still, not surprisingly, some of the girls were not at ease.
My Mum's voice was clear and comforting in the pitch dark. She talked with us calmly. Asked questions. Quite possibly she sang songs. She always sang. She still does. She told us when she was a little girl and had a hard time falling asleep she would practice saying the alphabet backwards. (This really is one of her many talents to this date.) Silence fell as the girls contemplated this. I fell asleep easily of-course without saying the alphabet backwards - the thought of attempting that to this day makes my brain hurt. And though I'm sure I would've been fine had my Mother not been in the cabin with us, having her there was reassuring nonetheless. Especially since the cabin was totally haunted.
I suppose there's some point to this story. Some sort of common thread here between the night time cuddles with my son and the story I just told you.
Quite possibly the moral of the story is, if there is one, it's always nice to have the comfort of your Mother curled in beside you, her hand rubbing your back or her soothing voice nearby. I think of it as a small gift every night to my son but especially to me - these precious moments we share. I've never felt comfortable with the crying it out method though that's not to say I haven't done it a couple of times in the beginning. But I've come to the realization it's just not how I want my children to fall asleep at night...upset, stressed, tear stained. Shouldn't we all feel safe and comforted the last few minutes before drifting to dreamland?
That's my belief.