perfect love


{image is a photo of me and my girl. And the wrinkles in my forehead when I smile.}

It’s the end of a long night. My nerves are frayed, my patience long expired.

Brooke has settled onto her floor to sleep again, leaving the bed untouched for yet another night.

I can’t bear to think about why she feels more comfortable down here.

If perhaps she senses that the electrical storms in her head might rage again tonight.

So the floor feels safer.

Starting at the bottom, there’s nowhere to fall.

It’s brilliant, really.

Even fascinating, these fail-safes we concoct to protect ourselves.

I can’t think about it.

I just can’t.

“Let’s cocoon!” Brooke yells to me as I putter around her room, finishing the last of the evening chores.

“Okay, kiddo,” I say, “but just for a minute. It’s getting late.”

We’ve been cocooning in my room for the last hour and a half.



We were both done.

I turn off the light and carve out a space in the stuffed animals next to her on the floor. I curl myself around her.

She sticks her arm into the air and says, “Do the scratchy thing like I like.”

I’ve been doing the scratchy thing like she likes for an hour and a half in my room. I just. Can’t.

“Honey,” I say, “Let’s just lie together, okay? I really want to just relax with you.”

“Aww, just do it,” she says in a sing-song that would normally make me laugh. It doesn’t. I just don’t have this in me right now.

“Brooke,” I say, “I’m exhausted. And I’m having a little bit of a tough time tonight too. I really just want to lie here with you.”

“You do?” she says.

“Yes, baby,” I answer. “I do.”

We lie together quietly for a moment. And then, ever so gently, she begins to run her fingers along the length of my arm, doing the scratchy thing … exactly like she likes.

The tears come too fast for me to stop them.

She reaches for my forehead. When we’re lying together in the dark, that’s how she reads my face – by running her hand along my forehead. All of my emotion is there, in a furrowed brow or the wrinkles of a laugh. She reads my forehead.

“Are you crying?” she asks.

“I am,” I say, “I’m okay, honey. It’s just been a rough night.”

She gently wipes my tears with her fingers, then brings her hand back to my arm to scratch.

And then she begins to quietly sing.

Day by day

Day by day

Oh dear Lord

A thousand things I pray

She giggles.

“Did you hear?” she says, “I said a thousand things.”

“I did, baby,” I say.

She runs her fingers along my forehead to see if her joke has worked, then picks up the song again.

To see thee more clearly

Love thee more dearly

Follow thee more nearly

Day by day

And I lie in the dark with my girl, listening to her sing her favorite song to me as she scratches my arm in the way that she loves and in that moment, I feel so perfectly, beautifully loved.

I try to tell my girl how much it means.

The words get tangled and tumble out on top of one another.

It doesn’t matter.

She knows.

I know she knows.

We curl together in the dark and I cherish the incredible gift of my daughter .. and her perfect, beautiful love.




17 thoughts on “perfect love

  1. My daughters best friend since babyhood, who isn’t on the spectrum, had a terrible time with sleep/bedtime.I didn’t realize how exhausting the nigh times were for her mother until the girls had sleepovers.I knew both of their kids slept in their parents bed, routinely, and she so often sounded resigned to the fact that good sound sleep was impossible no matter what they did.I just thought she didn’t try hard enough,stood firm enough.
    The sleepovers where I ended up ‘sleeping’ on the floor next to a cot,rubbing a child’s back and listening to music all night, while a nightlight was shining brightly made me realize quickly that this was much more complex.I know my friend didn’t ‘give in’, she gave her daughters what they needed to find calm and peace during the night.

  2. Thank you for letting us into such a beautiful, perfect, private moment. I could feel the love – and the connectedness – from here. I am in awe of your ability to find the lessons and see the gifts IN these moments of pain.

  3. Sorry for the tough times, for all of us. Thank you for sharing that it’s not all unicorns and rainbow. Mostly thank you for recognizing your girls’ awesomeness. Your baby blessed you and prayed over you and comforted and you knew it. And the stereotype of ” lacking empathy” gets another swift kick.

  4. Absolute perfect love…and oh, her song choice could not have been more perfectly perfect…what a blessing…xox

  5. Thanks for sharing. it is bumpy here in my world as we try school again…..I am tired and just overwhelmed…
    Medical conditions and school just don’t seem to work well together.
    Thank Brooke for reminding me of what matters in this all.

  6. My kid slept through last night, and I feel much better…anyways, my brain is so used to waking up at 3 am that I was up for some time even though she was sleeping.
    The developmental pediatrician suggested to put my daughter on Tenex, so she will sleep well and stay focused. I am very doubtful about it..any experience with this med?

  7. I always comment here on your beautiful blog and say I am crying. And I am. But this. This morning made me realize why. I am a single mom. I have had this moment. My beautiful boy is 13 now and we have come down a long road. He doesn’t crawl into a ball next to me anymore. But he does sometimes sleep on the floor for reasons I will never understand and still sometimes he will reach over when I’m driving, or you know, at the dinner table, and play with my hair.

    But This moment is about love. AND EMPATHY. And I have had this moment when he had felt my sadness and has taken it upon himself to help it in a way I could never put into words. In the most beautiful way I have never felt before.

    And I also don’t have anyone by my side to share a story like this with. Bc I don’t have anyone who cares as much as I do. I am a single mom.

    But here in your words I am not alone.

    And there’s someone else who truly feels an outraged cry of disbelief and anger at the words: no empathy.

    And I don’t feel alone in seeing that yes we all have those nights where we just can’t do it one more night.

    Thank you for sharing that feeling. That is powerful. And thank you for doing this day after day. It means so much – especially to those of us who are doing this alone without a person to turn to who “gets” it too.


  8. So beautiful. I can just hear her sweet little voice soothing her mama, Guess she learned that from her mama, huh? When you experience something so incredibly lovely, you’ve got to feel that all will be well.

  9. Sometimes people who are sensitive can feel the waves wifi and waves other electronics create. I read about a boy who would sleep on the floor with his head on the bed. Wifi decreases melatonin and creates a feeling of energy or anxiety. It is recommended to turn it off at night. My daughter is sensitive to florescent lights, wifi and a couple other things. They have meters that can measure how high the RF, EF and MF waves in her room and your house. It can make a big difference in behavior and feeling of well being.

    • kim, that’s me to a t!

      i know there are studies after studies that insist it can’t both anyone, but i react to it anyway.

      in the daytime i can ignore most of it, but at night? ahahaha, not if i want to sleep! i learned very young that if i got twitchy/headachy at night when i wasn’t sleeping in my own bed, to check how close lamps and clocks were to the head of the bed and make sure there were no outlets or dimmer switches near the head of the bed. if there were, i’d sleep on the floor away from them, and then the twitching would stop. i keep my clock and lamp about 3 feet away from my bed, and there are no other electronics in the bedroom.

      our house is specifically wifi free after we realised several years ago that i had far more memory and neuro issues when the wifi was on. it took having my husband to use the wifi randomly while we were using wired internet, because i didn’t want to believe wifi could bother me…but every time i had unexplained headaches and increased trouble speaking or brainfog, it was when he’d switched it on before he left for work! it also explains so much why every time i’d go to town, i’d end up more disoriented and out of it for several days afterwards and why it got worse as wifi got more popular. (we’re rural with no wifi towers or near neighbors; currentlyl the only source is our electric meter, but it’s at the far end of the house from where i spend my time.)

      i can’t handle fluorescent lights, either. the flickering and the noise give me horrible headaches (except for my biolightsystem light box, oddly. or maybe that’s why i get so headachy from the brightness. but given how much it increases my functionality in winter for having it on for a while every morning, the cost/benefit ratio is verypositive).

  10. You know how people always tell you how much you helped them? Sometimes it makes me sigh a bit, because I feel like I can’t measure up to your patience and reactions. But tonight I need to say thank you, because you really helped me by showing that it’s OK to sometimes say “I can’t” to a kid who needs. And that it’s OK to sometimes be on the receiving end of the love and the giving and the caring. That it’s OK to sometimes be the one who others ‘meet where we are.’ Even if those others are our kids, who first taught us about meeting people where they are. So thank you. You did huge good with this tonight. It came right at the right time for me.

  11. The days are hard here too, and I really needed this. I would love to hear my kids speak, to sing this too me, but perhaps in another life 🙂 ❤

  12. You had the faith in your dear girl that she could put off what she wanted for a time because you were too tired to do it any more, you had the faith in her, and then she surprised when she reached out and loved you in the same way that you love her. Gently and thoughtfully. She is learning how to love from you. What a gift for both of you!

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