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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

A Safe Place to Rest

That strong mother doesn't tell her cub, Son, stay weak so the wolves can get you. She says, Toughen up, this is reality we are living in. - Lauryn Hill

Isn’t funny how mom’s room and especially her bed is the safest place in the world? When my sister and I were little girls, we would some nights find our way into my mom’s room for “protection”. We didn’t want to wake her by getting in the bed so we would sleep on the floor near the side of the bed she woke up on. We frightened her when she woke up to make her way to the bathroom as she unknowingly stepped on us. She would always respond by saying get in the bed. There was always room to protect us from whatever caused us to seek refuge in her room.

There are different schools of thought about children sleeping in the bed with their parents. Some nights, it was the only way I could get some rest. “Mom can I sleep with you?” “ Get in child so I can get some rest.” Our bedtime routine always included reading stories, but as the guys got older, we spent a considerable amount of time reading bedtime stories. The number of stories was a direct correlation to how well they behaved that day. Some nights there were more books than conscience hours left in their mother. They tell the story of me dozing off in the middle of stories and having to wake me up to get the rest of the story. Sometimes I would feel the sleep coming and try to deliver an abbreviated version of the story, either skipping pages or not doing all of the animation. Neither of these ploys worked. Mom you forgot the part when, mom you didn’t do the sound, wake up mom, you are snoring.

One day we came home to find that the electricity was turned off. I had forgotten to pay the bill, plain and simple. The guys were still in elementary school at this time no older than the fourth grade. I called to get the service restored. The electric company assured me that the service would be restored by the morning. We had a whole evening routine to get through. Think, think, think, how I can make this unsettling situation fun. The water heater is gas operated so baths first while we still had some daylight. We grabbed the flashlights, lit a few candles, got our clothes out and figured out something for dinner. I tried to position it as a camping experience…they weren’t buying it. It was a defining moment for us. They remember how scary it was to this day— scary in the sense that it didn’t make sense that we didn’t have electricity. After we had everything ready, bellies full and teeth brushed, everyone piled in the bed with me. With all of that darkness, no one wanted to take a chance. Better stay close to mom where it is always safe. We got through it, but it is one of those memories that is still vivid in my guys’ minds. On the flip side, it is so true that experience is the best teacher. We are manic about paying our bills on time. Who knew that one incident would result in such an important life lesson!


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