“God, I can’t do this. Please take her before I screw her up.”
I was sobbing as I huddled on the floor, back wedged into the corner of my parents’ office. I was numb from exhaustion, almost too tired to blink. I had carried her downstairs so that she wouldn’t wake anyone else up.
My 5-year-old daughter lay in the middle of the floor, kicking her legs, rocking on her back, rolling from side to side, and yelping happily. Wide awake. At 2am.
So many nights were like this. It never failed. In what felt like mere seconds after I fell asleep, I’d hear her start making her happy noises, loud and persistent happy noises. I’d lay in a state of half-sleep, begging God for her to go back to sleep so I wouldn’t have to get up. Most of the time, she’d ramp up the whining and the volume, irritated that no-one else was up partying with her. I’d drag my weary cranky body out of bed to make sure she wasn’t in a bad position or laying in a puddle of vomit or bleeding out her nose, and plead with her to be quiet and go back to sleep.