Things That Go Bump In the Night
October 13, 2011 § 10 Comments
Houses creak at night. Cats knock things over onto the floor at night. Dogs snore and whimper in their sleep at night. The wind blows twigs and leaves into windowpanes at night.
When I was seven, I remember sitting up one sleepless midnight, listening as hard as my little ears would listen, heart racing. Surely that thud! I just heard was a burglar with a penchant for harming seven-year-old girls. My toes prickled and curled under my comforter as I picked up the sounds of movement on the staircase…someone was coming up the stairs to get me. This person was good, though–they must have been watching our house for some time. How did they miss the one creaky step? I was doomed. Done for. Finished.
I squeezed my eyes shut, telepathically sending my last earthly farewell to my family, when suddenly I felt the pressure of a body on my bed. Tears pushed through my eyelids; all I could do was wait for my imminent death.
It was the meow that did it. And the purring. And the “marching.”
“Muffin,” I breathed, sighing out all the anxiety I had built up. I could just barely make out her dark form in my dark room, but she found my outstretched hands and curled up beside me.
At that tender young age, I began to understand that not all things that go bump in the night are sinister.
Some things that go bump in the night are actually quite delightful and thrilling.
Things like a kitty cat kneading the blanket beside you. Things like a husband who shifts to snuggle against you.
Things like a baby kicking inside your belly.
It was Tuesday evening, after dinner, when Robert and I together felt Melanie’s kick on the outside of my abdomen. During the day, I had felt her protest as I leaned over a countertop and pressed my stomach into the hard edge. But this was something different. This was a joyful dance. A jig to celebrate the sateity that comes after a yummy meal.
Although she was not as active Wednesday, she still gave me a few little knocks to let me know she was in there.
And, like many new moms, I respond to her by telling her what she’s doing. “You are very strong, Melanie. You are kicking.”
I know, I know. She doesn’t know English yet…she has no verbal or other communication skills. And there is nothing to suggest that my words sound anything more than the muffled “wahwahwah” of the Peanuts cartoons. But there’s something about talking to her that is comforting to me, too.
Even now, I feel her movements underneath my skin. For those unfamiliar…they feel similar to gas bubbles, although not nearly as predictable or uncomfortable. Also, almost like a hiccup that stays centralized to your abdomen. The movements are difficult (if not impossible) to describe to others…but I know what they are. I know who they are from.
That’s my little girl bumping around in there.