Thursday, November 4, 2010

An homage to the nighttime check.


The house is still.

Parents peacefully sleeping. Children gleefully dreaming.

Respite from a long busy day.

The dog sighs happily in his bed. The heater hums, the faucet silently drips.

The alarm waits.

It’s black plastic, hard and distantly cold against the softness of the bedroom.

Seconds tick by. Soon it will be time.

Tick Tick Tick.


The scream of the alarm echoes against the still walls of the sanctuary.

A mother’s eyes open.

She turns fluidly towards the snooze button.

The check can wait.

Three more minutes of sleep. Much needed precious sleep.


A violent throwing of the blanket. She is up.

Cautiously she navigates the dark corners of the house. Stealth-like in her movements.

Her hand fumbling for the light. A small stream of brightness piercing the dark…her eyes squint, adjusting to the soft beam.

A monitor, a pricker, three test strips…she begins the rounds.

Each child in a dream like escape from diabetes. Each child at peace.

She longs to keep the peace. Her fear of disturbing her boys is tangible. She wants them to indulge in the calm within the storm.

She works quickly and quietly.

The countdown. Three. Two. One.


Her eyes bright now with victory. Her heart beating strongly against her chest…she is alive with hope.

The next countdown. Three. Two. One.


A small curve at the corner of her mouth. A shy smile of smugness. A sigh of relief.

The final countdown of the night.

Three. Two. One.


Her eyes close now. She holds in a tear. Sleep will have to wait.

Her mind begins to race. Information begins passing through at lightning speed. Processing what this child’s body needs.

She leaves the room and returns like a ghostlike figure. The silence of the house is deafening.

She gently presses the straw to her handsome son’s lips. He sips resolutely. His sleepy eyes see her for a moment, but he is lost in his dream before a memory is formed.

He is safe. For now.

As the mother sets her dark, cold alarm for an hour later, she sighs a deep knowing sigh.

She knows that there are others. Mothers and fathers quietly…tenderly… walking the halls of their homes. They are the guardian angels of their children.

She is not alone. And for a moment, that is enough. Enough to get her through to the next check. And the next. And the next.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The clock waits to scream. And the mother waits to sleep. Her mind alive with information.

She pushes back the madness. She WILLS herself to close her eyes. She will not question herself tonight. She WILL sleep until the next check.

Her eyes finally give in to the exhaustion and as they begin to finally flutter closed…


The nighttime checks continue. An eternal round of deafening silence and breathless countdowns.

The sleeplessness, a necessary evil and a willing sacrifice for the safety of the children she loves more than her own life. They are her everything. She will do anything and everything to keep them safe...

Even the nighttime check.


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