A year ago this week began the final days of Debra's life. There were many people milling about the house, mostly out of towner's. Family but somewhat strangers in Sofie's life. It's all sort of a blur for me. I just know I was doing all I could to make the culmination of this week be a little less hurtful for one brave little girl. It was also the last week of school for Sofie just before the Winter break. Tonight I was reminded of how profoundly those two events overlap in Sofie's life.
Increasingly, over the past few weeks, Sofie has a had a night where it's been difficult to fall asleep. When she's sad, she can't sleep...when I'm sad, I sleep too much. We've worked through the tough nights and much to her credit, she's very good at identifying and stating her needs. She figured out on her own that laying in the bed when she's having a hard time falling asleep is counterproductive for her. We've gotten into a little routine on those nights. The evenings all start out with the same pre-sleep rituals...tooth brushing, bathroom, reading, snuggles then sleep. On those nights she can't fall asleep or nights that I think she's asleep but later find out she's not, she comes out of her room and tells me she's sad and can't sleep. We talk about missing Debra, we cry, we cuddle and most recently we play a quick game of Mancala. ( A game she's recently discovered and one I haven't played since college...but I still have my board and it's getting great use now!) It gets her mind out of the sad loop and allows for sleep.
Tonight was no different...except we didn't play Mancala. It was just too late for that on this Winter's night. It was important for her to sleep early because we have an early birthday breakfast at Elmo's for our friend Tracey. She keeps asking when we're going and tonight I reminded her we have to be at Elmo's at 7a tomorrow morning. (Yes, I realize it's after midnight and I'm awake!) I was actually very close to sleep when she came into my room around 9p. "Mommy, I can't sleep." Earlier in the evening she asked if this coming week was the last week of school before Winter break. I gave a quick yes and thought nothing more of it. "Remember last year, the Friday of this week? That's when Debra died. I think that's why I'm having a hard time sleeping tonight" Well, I promptly burst into tears. I had no idea she remembered the date and had associated it with the last week of school before break. Here, I've been trying to re-define (or at least add to the definition) this time of year and holidays by creating new traditions and creating good memories and what's really a button for her is the week before break?!? Wow, I didn't really see that one coming.
After crying, talking and cuddling I let her sleep in my bed. She had to promise to go right to sleep even if I was reading in bed with the light on. Less than five minutes later, soft snores were creeping my way. Of course then I couldn't sleep. And now I'm up blogging after midnight!
Well off I go to snuggle with my little girl who is so clued in and in touch with her feelings that I realize she's not such a little girl anymore.