I wrote this on mother's day as a way to remember one small thing I love about my children. It begged to written, and now it begs to be shared. I'm sure it's full of flaws, but it's time for me to share some of my work with you. So here goes - Motherhood, a work of flash fiction.
I am nearly asleep when I hear the blood curdling scream. The first reaction at that ungodly hour is that someone has died. It's the kind of scream that instantly carries me from my dream land to the confused existence of awake.
In such a state, it takes a few moments for realization to dawn. No one has died. It's only the baby screaming for attention. I think about rolling over. I consider pressing the pillow to my ear and dropping back into my sweet oblivion. She screams again.
"Okay, okay." I say, to psyche myself into getting up. I drag my feet and hang my head, hoping somehow alertness with fly into my eyes from out of some dim hiding place. I get to her doorway and press my ear. I haven't heard so much a squeak for the past minute.
Maybe she went back to sleep! I think, happiness filling my breast. I nearly run back to the soft folds of my sheets. My body aches for the place where the warmth will never ask for anything, only let me seep into its happy haven.
I'm back at my bedroom door when she screams again. No such luck. I hobble over to her room, exasperation filling me to the core. I don't want to be angry, but I am. What kind of child wakes their parents at two a.m.?
I swing open her door, ready to show her who's boss around here. Ready to let her know we will have no more early morning screaming sections. I glare in her direction. She stands in her crib, wide blue eyes staring happily in my direction. Her soft blond hair sticking out like a baby bird's feathers. Her blanket, pillow, and two bears are strewn across the floor. She's been busy throwing everything she can on the floor. It's the only way she can express her need to be out of the crib.
We look at each other, and she jumps up and down as if she ready to play. I, however, am not entertaining any such notions. I take a step into the room, "Hi." She says in her sweet, high-pitched, fifteen-month-old voice. I'm not ready to give in, yet. After all, it is still two in morning.
I pull her out of the crib and turn her sideways to check her diaper. It's clean. Why on earth are you awake? I think. She giggles. I'm not falling for that one either. This child will go back to bed.
I set her on the floor as I reassemble the strewn accessories. When all is ready I pick her back up. She grabs me tight and pats my back. Her head rest softly on my shoulder and I take in a breath of her sweet baby smell. She murmurs some soft noise that makes my heart melt. It's enough to almost crack my hard shell and let her stay up, but the need for a few more hours of sleep wins out.
I gently place her in the crib and watch as she huddles under her blankie, peeking at me for any sign of forgiveness. "Goodnight Madeline" I whisper, stroking her face. She contentedly rolls over to hug her bear, not a care in the world. Oh the days of innocence! If only I could return.
I tiptoe out of the room and sigh. I find that I'm grinning widely, foolishly. Yes, I am glad she is going back to bed. I am glad she will let me sleep just a little while longer. I am glad she has not put up a fight, but the real reason I smile is because know I have a little girl who loves me. Even if she wakes me up at two a.m. to tell me so.