Robin and I were settling in for the night when Robin wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. His sudden movement surprised me, but I quickly relaxed in his arms. I turned into him and rested my head on his chest. I let my exhaustion set in and soon tears poured freely down my face. Robin held me close, rubbing circles on my back. I didn’t stop crying, or calm down even at his touch. This caused him to push me away so that he could look into my watery eyes.
“Regina.” It was barley a whisper, but I could hear the worry that tainted his voice.
“Robin…I…” But I couldn’t speak. I needed to cry, to try and relieve myself from the fear that had encased my heart. I was worried about both of my teenagers and I was drowning, drowning in fear and worry. I had never seen Henry so upset, so broken. And then Grace, even though I had her back in my life, a part of me felt like she was slipping away, because I didn’t know how to talk to her. I had become a spectator, someone watching her from the outside. I kept sobbing as thoughts raced through my head. All I wanted was for it all to stop. I wanted peace in my head, no worries running rampant. I pulled myself close to Robin again and placed my hand on my stomach. I rubbed it gently hoping to calm myself. I tried thinking about our baby and how perfect it was going to be. I thought about how happy Robin was, and I tried to be happy too, but all my worries came rushing back and a new wave of sobs racked my body.
Sleep finally took over my body, but it was a restless sleep. I tossed and turned, fighting the dreams that plagued my rest. They were so vivid and real. It was like a broken record playing over and over again in my head. I would loose Henry and then Grace and Henry again, until finally I woke up panting, an found I was drenched in sweat. I slipped out of bed, careful not to wake Robin, and headed into the bathroom. I dried myself off and then changed into fresh clothes. I was almost ready to go back to bed when I heard a loud thump come from Grace’s room. I dashed down the hall, fearing that my dream was coming true. After I flung her door open I found her on the floor, thrashing around in her sleep. She looked like she was screaming and trying to fight something off of her. I knelt next to her and shook her awake. Tears of relief filled my sweet girl’s eyes as she wrapped her arms around me. She clung to my body in desperation, as if I were the only thing keeping her safe from the world of dreams I had just rescued her from. She sobbed into my shoulder as I rubbed her back, and then scooped her up and took her back to her bed. I set her down in the bed and crawled in next to her. I pulled her close to me and let her cry. I knew all to well that was what she needed right now. I cried a little to, not out of fear but relief that my baby girl was safe in my arms. A sigh escaped me and it made me smile. It felt good to let go of just a little of my worry, even if it wasn’t completely gone.
After a long time Grace pulled back and looked at me. She reached up and wiped the tears from my cheeks then leaned in to kiss my forehead. I smiled at her gentle touch and let out another sigh. Her grey eyes caught mine and searched them. For what I didn’t know, but finally I felt her soft, delicate finger touch my palm as she began speaking to me. The moment I felt her hand in mine I started crying. Instantly her face contorted with fear and worry. Her hand worked frantically to understand my tears.
“Mom what’s wrong? Did I do something to hurt you? Please. Why are you crying? Tell me.” Her eyes begged me to be honest with her, and I knew I could. I could see it in her eyes and her expression, how much she loved and cared for me.
“Baby girl you didn’t do anything, I promise. I’m just scared, that’s all.” I paused, wanting to know what she would say before I continued.
“What has frightened you mom. Can I help fix it? I just want you to be happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you. I always hoped I would be a part of that happiness too. Please tell me what’s wrong.” Again her grey eyes pleaded with me, and I nodded.
“I’m afraid of… loosing you darling. Afraid that I won’t be able to show you how much I love you. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to protect you. I don’t want to hurt you but I’m worried that I might. I don’t…I don’t know how to talk to you. I can’t keep up with you like Henry can. I don’t want to be left behind. I want to be here with you every day. I want to help you, but I’m so afraid that I can’t because I don’t know how to talk to you. And most of all I’m afraid that I won’t be the mother you deserve, that any of you deserve. Does that make sense?” It was my turn to search her eyes for the truth. Tears spilled down both of our cheeks. Grace didn’t say anything for quite some time, as if she were contemplating her answer carefully. When she did “speak” my heart filled with joy, and relief, for a moment anyway.
“This is why you looked worried at dinner isn’t it? I thought it was the baby at first, but every time I would catch your eyes you looked sad. I didn’t understand but now I do. It does make sense mom. You have to realize that I understand fear and worry and even pain. I understand why you fear not being a good mother, but what you need to know is that is exactly what makes you a good one. It means you are doing your job well. If you thought you were the perfect mom you would come to find that it wasn’t true. Like I said before you can’t be perfect, but I don’t want perfect, Henry and Roland and this baby, they don’t want perfect. We all just want our mother to love us and to be here for us when we need her. We want to be a family.” She rubbed my stomach and then lifted my chin to meet her gaze.
“Mom you are never going to loose me, especially not because I don’t have a voice or you can’t keep up with Henry. You don’t need to be ashamed that he can speak to me more quickly that you can, because that isn’t what matters. What matters is this, you taking the time to confide in me, to pour out your fears to me, allowing me to help you. And when I need you, you can listen to me. You can hear my fears and hug me tightly in your arms, then help me to fix what ever is broken. That’s what a mom does and that is what matters. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love you. I have done everything I could to get to you. And now I am right where I have always waned to be, in your arms, feeling your love surround me.” It was so relieving to “hear” what Grace had said. She was so gentle but convincing too. She believed that I was a good mother because I was worried. I smiled and tears continued to slip down my face. I pulled my sweet girl into a hug and held her tight. She kept saying she loved me and this time I was determined to remember. I pulled away just enough to look at her and ask “Honey I came in here for you not me. You were the one having a terrifying nightmare. Do you want to talk about it? I didn’t mean to neglect you.” Grace gave me a soft smile and shook her head. Fear returned to her eyes at the mention of her dream.
“I don’t want to talk about it tonight. It is the last part of my story, the most horrifying part, and I want daddy to be there to hear and Henry too. Not Roland, it would scare him too much. For now I want to sleep peacefully, if that is possible.” I pulled her close and silently agreed. Peaceful sleep was all I wanted now. No actually I wanted my baby girl and my husband too. I looked at Grace and whispered “Let’s go to my room and sleep there.” Grace smiled. I scooped her up in my arms and we made our way back to my room.
Robin was sitting up, awake. When I got closer I saw tears on his face and I almost dropped Grace out of shock. I set her down and crawled across the bed to Robin, who enveloped me in his arms.
“Please stay here.” He pleaded and I didn’t move. I felt the bed shift and then another arm wrap around me. I felt so safe right now. Robin and I slipped down and together the three of us curled into a comfortable position. When sleep captivated us for the second time that night we all slept calmly and woke with a little more courage to face what lay ahead.