She grew up in a warm inviting home with close to none the worry or pain; but being the imaginative girl she was, piles of clothing could easily morph into terrifying monsters and shadows on the walls effortlessly mimicked creepy crawlies. With such nightmare fueling things dancing about her room, it goes without saying that bedtime could become a dreadful thing for the wide-eyed child. She was seen as the apple of her mother’s eye; the miracle child that wasn’t deemed possible to ever be conceived. So naturally, her mother’s doting affection was seen with such patience night after many night. Dark circles framed her blue eyes as she would simply smile at the small child, tuck in whichever stuffed animal was crowned the favorite for the time being, and tell the girl to “think happy thoughts”. She would help the child list off and provide examples such as a vibrant rainbow, a particular funny moment involving the family pet, an exciting coming event for school, or above all, the overwhelming love that she held for the dark haired little girl. A kiss, a hug, and a small prayer later, the mother would silently hover in the doorway watching her beloved daughter drift into dreamland with a gentle grin on her face. She knew that six A.M would come early that morning, traffic would most certainly be a royal pain, and her oblivious husband would be none the wiser of their daughter’s nightly routine and his wife’s long absence from the comfort of their king size bed; however, it all seemed trivial compared to the joy she felt when gazing upon her gift from above that was now sleeping soundly.
The tiny girl grew into a disproportionate teenager who could easily climb over the mountains of clothes that once taunted her, who swapped out her nightlight for a trendy lava lamp, and who would easily sleep till noon when given the opportunity. While it wasn’t the typical sense of teenage rebellion, the young adolescent much preferred the company of her friends at a sleepover instead of her suddenly overbearing mother who just “didn’t understand” her teenage angst. However, about once a year in the late hours of the night, she requested her mother’s presence at her bedside to help ease her anxieties and worries. Her mother cherished those rare occasions in which she could once again be the superhero in her daughter’s eyes that now shone a hint of vulnerability that she hadn’t seen since the days of invincible teenagedom. She could watch the tension gradually lift from her daughter’s shoulders as her go-to ritual of happy thoughts began. She offered up the visual of her best friends linking arms with her during the nerve-wracking first day of high school, a tasty homemade lunch of her choosing, and a willing open ear to vent to about her day upon her return. With a kiss, a hug, and a small prayer, she exited the room and peeked back with a grin when she saw her daughter pulling out a cell phone from beneath the covers. She shook her head and headed back to a bedroom that was now hers alone to occupy and wondered if her ex husband had any notion of the young lady that their daughter was becoming. Albeit sassy and a tad melodramatic at times, she couldn’t have been more proud to wear the title of mother to that beautiful girl who would probably be tired for the first day of school because of her eyes glued to that phone.
Her daughter was now a spunky young woman in her twenties who wanted to grab life by the horns and carve her own path in the world. She had a naivety of people’s intentions, always believing in the good of the people; yet she also bore an emotional maturity that was very much lacking among her fellow youth. It was her perfect blend of those two things that caught the eye of a much older man who seemingly held her on a pedestal and promised her everything her heart could ever desire. Her mother watched helplessly as the headstrong girl she raised became a subdued woman who flinched far too often and still held ample optimism despite being in a terrible situation. She offered her best motherly advice until the phone calls and visits became fewer and far between and she began to ponder if there were any happy thoughts to even be had.
The mother set up the guest bedroom as she gazed over at her daughter who was putting her clothes up in the closet. She couldn’t help but clutch at the growing weight in her chest as she saw her now shell of a daughter. Her once cheerful rosy cheeks were hollowed and pale, her eyes that once held such wonder now homed a sadness and emptiness deeper than the unexplored ocean depths, and her belief of good was now shattered by dancing with the devil in the guise of a man. In the early hours of the morning, she found her daughter on the kitchen floor screaming and defending herself against an attacker who only stood within the crevices of her daughter’s traumatic memories. The mother wrapped her shattered daughter into her arms with the ferocity that only a momma bear could muster and kissed at the dark tresses of her daughter who shook from her violent sobs and guttural weeping. Minutes melted into hours till she was able to convince the daughter to give her body much needed rest. She built a pallet of blankets on her bedroom floor and stood over her daughter’s frail frame trying to find any possible grasp at hope to give. With a kiss to her forehead, a lingering hug, and although she couldn’t understand how God could let her daughter go through so much pain, she said an extra lengthy prayer. As she pulled herself underneath the covers with her daughter just beside her, she searched her mind for any sliver of a happy thought and finally spoke with the only one she could find.
“I love you.” she said through trembling lips.
“I love you too, momma.” her daughter responded quietly.