Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…


When my babies were small, and slept in their own beds.

When my babies were small, and slept in their own beds.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. That’s not totally unusual. I’m a woman of a certain age— there are many things that keep me awake these days. However, last night it was the most horrible of thoughts, the darkest of the dark. Yesterday I read in our local paper that a vibrant young girl, who graduated from the high school that my kids have attended, was killed in a scooter accident overseas, over spring break this week. I knew the girl. Not well, but I knew her face, remembered her personality. She was a baby, just having started college— so much life ahead of her. She was doing something joyful and fun, with her sister and friends. She was having an adventure… All I could think, as I lay in bed last night, the dark pushing in around me, was that her parents were probably on their way to get their baby’s body, and bring her home. They were going to comfort their other daughter, who lost her sister, far far from home. All of the scariest things came in on me, and I could not close my eyes.

Any parent reading that news post would have felt something. How could we not? The cliché: It is the worst thing I could imagine, is so true. What parent doesn’t feel that way? But as I lay there, all I could think of was my son. He is on spring break in China. He’s in some adventurous place, and there is no way to reach him. All I could think of was my daughter, living so far away, each day away from our care.  It scared the hell out of me, as images of those other parents raged in my head. Their pain was palpable as I lay there worrying about my boy, my girl, both of whom are so far away. I am in NO way comparing my anxiety to their pain, their loss— but I could not stop thinking about them, their horror and grief, and I could not help but send up a fervent plea that my own children are safe.

I have written plenty about missing my kids, wishing they were living closer (until they are actually living here)… but ultimately I am proud of their choices and excited for their adventures and journeys. But does that always make for peaceful nights on my pillow? No. In a logical mind space, I understand that anything could happen right here at home. I know that bad things can happen when they are near me, at their colleges, or far away; I have lived my entire life knowing that loss lives right around the corner. However, every time I shut my eyes last night, I could only imagine those parents: facing this enormous, catastrophic loss— so far from their girls.

Any parent who doesn’t say that losing a child is their greatest fear, the worst of the worst, is missing a chip. They may not all lose sleep over other parents’ losses, but we all have our demons. As another mother, how can I not read that story and look to my own children— count their toes and fingers, make sure they are sleeping soundly. Though all three are nearly grown up now, there is still no sweeter thing than seeing them asleep in their beds, chests rising and falling, that familiar smell of each of them around me. That is when I sleep soundly. In moments like last night, the fact that their beds are thousands of miles away keeps me awake. It makes my heart race and my brain skip. It makes me touch wood and try to think of of positive things to push the monsters away. Last night, I couldn’t sleep thinking of another mother’s loss. I stayed awake far too late, saying silent prayers for her, for her family, and for my own kids… so far away.

Other posts: Ode To Girl Interrupted, This Mother’s Heart Stretches and Grows, Ode To The Middle Man, Sirens In Israel Make Me Grind My Teeth

What keeps you awake at night? Do you worry about your kids, or are you good at managing those demons? Leave a comment, hit the Like—I’ll sleep better.  Join me on Tales From the Motherland on Facebook.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Aging, Awareness, Blog, Can't sleep, Courage, Daily Observations, Death, High School, Honest observations on many things, Life, Mothers, Musings, My world, News, Parenting, Tales From the Motherland, travel, Women's issues, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…

  1. The Waiting says:

    I felt this same way the day of the Connecticut shooting. I was completely rattled and I mourn(ed) for the parents as much as I did the children who were taken. It was the first time a tragedy of that magnitude had happened since I became a parent myself, and that day I experienced the fear you take on when you bring small people into the world. I sometimes toss and turn thinking about the world we brought C into. It’s an ugly place at times. By best hope for my husband and me is that we curate the world we expose her to and raise her to be the kind of person who makes it better.

    Like

    • Well said Emily! It’s so true that we see the world through entirely different eyes, once we become parents. I love the idea of “curating” the world we expose them too… lovely! Thanks for reading, and sharing. Much appreciated!

      Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    This event has weighed heavily on me. Sad for the family beyond words. It also brings a parent’s greatest fear up to the surface.

    Like

  3. I think you’ve captured the feeling of parents so well, way better than my grandmother had done when she lived with me and smacked me upside the head for returning home at 7pm.
    It is such a warm fuzzy to know your family is sleeping in their own beds, and even though none of you have ever shared a bed for funsies since forever it’s nice to have their presence about, and the way you wrote about it really had me catch my breath.
    Something so simple can be as humbling to me as watching the stars in a clear night away from the city.
    Thanks for sharing (:
    Sarah

    Like

    • Sarah, Ducky, thanks for reading this and sharing your thoughts. It breaks my hear to think of you being treated the way you have written about. No child deserves that. As parents, we can fall short in so many ways… but that is not one of the ways that is tolerable. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. xo

      Like

      • Ah, all’s well in the Duck’s kingdom. Given a choice she still wouldn’t change a thing in her life, it all contributes further to my alter ego. Ego aside, your words and thoughts are appreciated (: I’ve learned since that nobody magically grows into this new species I call a parent, they’re just me, couple decades older haha.

        Like

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    Thoughts like that often keep me up at night, too. The only thing that quells them is knowing that my sons are safe inside the home with me, asleep in their beds. But it won’t be long until, like yours, they are no longer under my roof, and I will then have that extra grain of worry. And I suspect it never goes away, no matter how old they are.

    Like

  5. Very sad news. Today I read about the 25 year old woman killed in Afghanistan. It is every parents’ fear and knowing people, including family who’ve lost children, I know they never recover. It doesn’t get easier as the kids get older either.

    Like

  6. SocietyRed says:

    Your post makes me feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff; and the bottom is pulling at me.
    The letting go is never easy or complete. I claim to never worry about things but even though my kids are in their 30’s, I still fall into that vortex every once in a while.
    Great post TFTM!
    Red

    Like

    • Thanks Red! Much appreciated. I am always glad for the support of my blogging friends (and neighbors). I’m not sure that we ever lose that fear, do we? Those of us who love our children and are close to them… it is a powerful bond. The deepest of the deep. Thanks again for taking the time. Much appreciated.

      Like

  7. I had that gut-check feeling the on 9/11 when I wondered what to say to my children. Now I share your feelings of concern about my grandchildren. I take comfort knowing their mother, my daughter, is a wonderful mother and she has surrounding her children will so much love. I hope you sleep well tonight knowing, as a mother, you have done the same for your children. – Mike

    Like

  8. Adam S says:

    Wow. That’s a pretty heavy thought to be entertaining late. Stuff like that gets in my head at night too. The dark pushing in around you is exactly what it feels like too. It sucks that stuff like that has to happen. My uncle lost his son at 30 and the guy completely fell apart..

    Like

    • My dad was killed at 32. I often think, now, how devastating it must have been for my grandmother. For years, I only thought about how devastating it was for me. Heavy indeed. My head is a deep, dark place. Thanks for checking in Adam. Much appreciated.

      Like

      • Adam S says:

        Oh my god, I didn’t know about that until now. What do I say? I’m truly sorry. I can’t even imagine having to live through it. I always wish you the best, and you know I love you..

        I’m trying my best to keep up with reading, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult with other commitments I have at the moment. I enjoy your work, and I try to always read you when I’m on here.

        Like

        • Take a deep breath Adam. Best thing to say is: I’m sorry, I didn’t know. No worries, friend. I’ve written a lot about it, so assumed you did know, but it’s not a big deal that you didn’t. It was a long time ago. It’s all overshadowed by the fact that you just said you love me… makes this old girl’s heart skip a beat. Even if I know you only have eyes for Becca, I love being that older, auntie blog love. Remember, I have all of my fingers, and I’m prone to sarcastic, dark humor. 😉 And I like emoticons. Despite what you hipsters say… I will not be peer pressured into dropping them. Except on Le Clown’s page. wink wink All’s good Adam. I wish you the best too, and love you to pieces. You have a great big, good heart. (Now, take the day, drop and catch up on my posts…)

          Like

  9. This is every mother’s greatest fear. My kids both went to school in England and I spent a lot of sleepless nights tossing and turning and worrying- always thinking the worst thoughts. Ugh. I hate that anxiety. I know you know all about it. I feel so sad for those parents. I honestly don’t know how you move on from that kind of pain and loss. I don’t. I look at people who go through that kind of thing and know that they are made of different stuff because I wouldn’t survive it. I count my blessings that my children are well and happy. My heart is pounding from even thinking these thoughts. 😦

    Like

    • My heart pounds thinking about them too… me thinks I will stop reading comments to my blog, long before bedtime tonight. :-p I’m not sure how you move on either, but my guess is that none of us knows this unless we are tested. I hope neither of us ever has to answer that question. Touch wood. xo

      Like

  10. Ugh. What a nightmare. Reading your post, just for this little while, I am so glad my son is still 10 and still at that stage of needing Mom (not 100% of the time, thankfully). He’s still young enough that even though I grant him lots of age appropriate freedoms, he’s still under the watchful eye of a responsible adult for most of his day. I am so sorry to hear of this death and the incredible loss her family is dealing with. I hope you can sleep tonight.

    Like

  11. etomczyk says:

    We’ve had a couple of the kids acquaintances from their high school die (both murdered when they went off in college) not to mention that one of my kids graduated from Va Tech the semester before the mass shooting and she knew some of the victims. It was just awful. But I have to tell you I felt even worse for Sandy Hook and more tortured because I have a grandson, and it took all the self-control I could muster not to beg my daughther to never allow him to go to kindergarten ever again–or leave the house for that matter. All these children (big and small) are all our children and I think we are supposed to lose sleep when horrible things happen to them all over the world and in every inner city (remember Hadiya Pendleton shot to death in Chicago after returning from participating in President Obama’s inaguration–I couldn’t sleep for a couple of days), so that we can reason together and work to make a safer environment for all of them.

    Like

    • l could not agree with you Eleanor! I only wish that the dialogue would be louder and more consistent… not ebb and flow from disaster to disaster. Each of those events kept me awake, as it did so many parents…. but then we all go slowly back to our corners and hope that the bogey man stays far away. Thanks for reading and sharing. I always appreciate your support and wisdom!

      Like

  12. Off Duty Mom says:

    I actually wanted to comment on that beautiful picture of you with your children. I hope you have that poster-size in your house somewhere. It is just so pretty!

    Like

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