Little girls should never have to worry when they fall asleep at night.
Mine is sweetly sleeping, her hair a cascade of gold fanning her pillow. Moments like this one are precious. Cherished.
Minutes ago, she came padding down the stairs, wearing those fuzzy jammies with the puppies on them that are so cuddly after a bath. There are worry lines written across her forehead.
“Mommy, can you lay down with me for a while?”
I am busy, and truth be told, I just want to sit and decompress after a draining day at work. But instead of sitting, I am doing the dishes. The housework seems so pressing just now. The crumbs under the table, coffee stains on the counter, left-over potatoes still waiting to be scraped into a plastic container.
I sigh. Then, I tell her to go back to bed. I feel guilt almost immediately because this I know for sure: little girls should never have to worry when they fall asleep at night.
I go back up the stairs, and make my way into the dark room. She is sniffling, her head turned, facing the wall. I sit down beside her on the bed. I am still feeling a bit miffed, as this extra visit was not part of tonight’s game plan, but I try to exercise patience.
“What is it,” I ask in as tender a voice as I can muster. Can she sense my impatience?
She confides in me. She is worried that when she falls asleep, we will leave, and she will be all alone in the house without a father or mother.
The impatience washes away, even though I know that she should know better. What reason have I ever given her to feel this way? But, she does feel fear, and I will validate her feelings, however unreasonable.
“Mommy and Daddy would never leave you,” I say, my voice softening. “We will never leave you.”
I pivot so that I am now laying down next to her. I reach my arm out and draw her close to me. She is still whimpering, but I sense her relief in my embrace. It is confirmation and assurance all wrapped up in one warm motion. I hug her tightly and stroke her hair. I gently reprimand myself: she should never have to worry when falling asleep at night.
Little girls, much like my own, are falling asleep tonight all over the globe. Some, like my own, have been loved and patiently tucked in to make sweet dreams of bright tomorrows. Their worries are brushed away with a gentle manner and kind touch. Others have not been so blessed. Their fears and worries much greater than that of my own dear child. Worries for some of dangers that are real and present. Fear that hovers in the dark. Fear that isolates and shames. Fear that destroys a little girl from one day becoming the woman she was meant to be.
This I know for sure: whomever the little girl, and whatever her life, little girls should never have to carry worry with them into the night. God bless and watch over our precious little girls.