This is Jenna. She is, as the children whom I carried in my womb will tell you, my FAVORITE. It’s true, I always reply. She never talks back, she’s always happy to see me when I get home, and she doesn’t hold grudges. Why wouldn’t she be my favorite?
Still, last night she was pushing the limits of my love. Well, it was actually early this morning– around 2:30 a.m. I realize that she sleeps a lot during the day, but she’s not a toddler. She’s middle-aged, like me. And, apparently, her grip on a good night’s sleep is tenuous, like mine.
From the depths of my exhaustion, I hear splashing water. I roll over, thinking it is an irony of my life that the “white noise” machine that is supposed to mask other sounds with its gentle rain is waking me. Then I hear it more clearly — the sloshing sounds are intermittent, not steady like the rain. It must be my daughter in the bath, I think. The last thing I remember before turning out the light was her telling me that she was going to take a shower. She said shower, my sluggish brain finally registers, not bath.
Then I hear the unmistakable sound — faint at first and then growing louder as it approaches — of panting. That nutty dog was drinking from the toilet! Creaking floorboards in the distance…she’s in my son’s room now. She’ll probably cover his face with slobbery kisses, and then he’ll be in my room complaining. Nails grazing the wood floor… she’s made a failed attempt to jump into his bed.
I am wide awake now. She settles in next to my bed, no longer willing to make the effort to jump up and shove me and my husband to the edges to accommodate her. She is content to sleep on the cool floor, chasing rabbits in her dreams. She snores softly. I surrender: Mine will be a long night of short naps.