As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.—ISAIAH 66:13
Moonlight peeks through the window blinds, streaking the shadows of my darkened room. I lie in bed and listen for the sound of my mother through the baby monitor placed in her bedroom. Alzheimer’s has left her unable to navigate well on her own, especially at night.
“Mom!” she yells for me. “I’m coming,” I tell her.
I’m not sure when she began calling me Mom, but our roles have reversed. Now it’s me who prepares her meals just as she did for me when I was a child. Now I’m the one who soothes her back to sleep.
She is lying on the carpeted floor of her room, unhurt but scared, having fallen trying to get out of bed. She holds her arms up for me to help her. I struggle to get her back onto the mattress.
“Can I get up?” she asks. “Let’s try to sleep some more. It’s the middle of the night.” “But I’m not tired.”
We’ve gone over this same scenario night after night. I try not to cry. I haven’t been this tired since my children were newborns. My exhaustion is becoming debilitating. I think back to what soothed my own children when they were restless. I begin singing “Silent Night” while rubbing her back.
Mom is asleep before I get through the second stanza. Although I’m still tired, the song has also comforted me. Singing it brought back happy memories, but I’m also making new memories that give me comfort throughout sleepless nights.