It’s 2 am, and I’m awakened to the sound of a sobbing little girl and heavy raindrops beating against the side of the building. She is teething, the rain’s falling from the swirling fingers of a tropical storm, and my head is tired and groggy. I lie still for several minutes, as if by remaining motionless I could somehow will her back to sleep. She shifts from quiet crying to calling out “Mummy!” and in a moment, we are both in her room. She’s upright in her crib, stumbling around half-asleep and half-awake as though the mattress were a ship deck, rolling on the high seas to the sound of the pelting rain.
“Get out,” she asks, stretching out her wobbly hands. “Wear blanket scarf.” I wrap her favorite fuzzy blanket around her the way she wants it, and she reaches her arms toward papa. He holds her while she drinks water, and then she lunges in my direction. “You hold,” she says.
Her tiny hands clasp together behind my neck. I stretch out on the rug next to her crib, and she nestles her blonde head on my chest, the same way she’s done scores of times since the moment she was born. She moves her ear over my heart, and the rhythm soothes her. We lie there together in the darkness, listening to the staccato of rain and the beat of my heart. She sighs. I close my eyes. She’s tall, and I marvel how her feet stretch down past my knees now.
I think how thankful I am to have her here with me. I think how wonderful it is that when she cries, I can be next to her.
Over the next hour, she alternates between crying and whispering, “Nigh’ nigh’ sleep.” Finally, I hear nothing but the persistent noise coming from the very loud frog claiming squatter’s rights in the second-story rain gutter outside the window.
I close my eyes again, this time in my own bed, and fall asleep to the constant stream of tropical rain.