we belong to each other

I’m up early and my daughter is in the bathroom, getting ready for her day. She’s just applied green eyeshadow and looks smart in her skinny jeans and layered tops: Seahawks colors, in celebration of yesterday’s big win.

“How did you sleep?” she asks me.

“I slept well, but I woke too early.” I sit next to her while she ties her shoes.

“Are you stressed?” she asks, glancing up at me.

“I am. A little.”

“What are you worried about?”

“Stuff.” I rise, go to the window, open the curtain a bit. The morning light, a bit of sanity, a respite from the terror of night.

“I just heard about this study, where they analyzed nightmares. It was found people often suffered nightmares when they were stressed about something – usually relationships. Or money.”

“Bingo,” I say, thinking, food. Although my kids don’t need to know that exactly.

“I felt so moved reading that study because, I know what it’s like to have nightmares. Although -” her face scrunches in what is an almost comically-adorable expression of wonder – “I haven’t had nightmares in a long time. I used to.”

I ask her if she is happy in her life.

“Yes… mostly. It’s not perfect.”

“I doubt anyone has a perfect life,” and I’m thinking, Sophie, I don’t know why but something about her scrunched face reminds me of her toddlerhood and so my mind finds her long-ago child name –

“But – what would you like different?” I ask.

She looks at me with frank appraisal, yet she is blushing.

“Besides that,” I tell her.

“I think… I would like… a nice family.”

I’m surprised. “Oh? We aren’t ‘nice’?”

“It’s not perfect,” she repeats, but she’s thoughtful as she says it.

“What do you wish was different?” I ask her. She’s the wisest person of the four of us anyway, and – tired as I am, I’m willing to hear some new ideas.

“I don’t know,” she says now, sitting up on the couch and looking at me. Young tigress.

“How about that is your assignment for today. Think about what you’d like differently for the family.”

She nods, turns her head – her sleek hair pulled in a ponytail. She is very lovely, in every way.

You can see why, this morning, I was desirous to type out our conversation before it flitted from my mind.

My mind. My practitioner told me I should rest it, to feed my blood. I believe she is right. Resting one’s mind is quite a challenge!

I am stressed, I am worried. I am. A little. I’m not thrilled my sleep was shortchanged but since I’m up, I will wash dishes and take my dog on a run. It’s true today I’d rather curl up and “do nothing” but I’m going to do what I should because I should do it. I gotta be patient and not panic although when my sleep is disrupted, I tend to worry.

Patience. Patience. At swim class the other day, the lifeguard told me: “The only sport – the ONLY sport – where you have to consciously think about your breathing.”

Yes. & no. Today I gotta breathe right, even though my head is nowhere near water.