Just before sunrise, he would lay with her in her bed, and together, they’d recite all the facts about animals her 3.75 year old self had acquired. They’d talk favourites-least favourites; most unusual–commoners; strangest habitats–creatures found in our backyard … the topics of conversation were endless.
I felt these words sharply.
They have been perfecting this ritual for nearly 4 months … and I hadn’t noticed, not even one little bit. I had been too busy, mastering Red’s medical regiments down to the minute and millilitre. I had been exclusively focused on starting my day by taking care of the sick child.
Just after swinging my legs to the side of the bed at 4am, the same knot in my stomach and mix of anti-nauseants, anti-migraine meds, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills propels me forward into a dulled awakening of life that makes me question, is this, living?
But on this morning, the light forced it’s way out of the crack in her doorway enough for me to stop, and hear tiny muffled voices, giggles and an impressively lucid banter at such an early hour.
She had overheard everything and come to dread early morning just as I had. Her little ears were listening to the clumsy sounds of Mum stammering in the kitchen; the beeping of machines; the uncomfortable stirring of her sister as Mum forced meds, fluids and food in her. Her little brain started the day in a similar, unsettling way: Dread, and all it brings.
And so her Dad filled the hole, by sneaking into her room and distracting her with the amazing adventures that they’d concoct about animals, near and far — while I robotically found my way through the hell that is morning.
Although most of the hellish will stay in my morning routine, at least now I know, that under the same roof, there is laughter and light and effortless love that just might, propel me too.