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The Melancholy Pillow Club

by audra

I was always the girl with the best fluffy, feather dense pillows, high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, custom King pillow top mattress, the satin sleep mask residing in the nightstand drawer,— two eyes embroidered on top , right next to a huge bottle of melatonin pills. The room’s blackout curtains standing guard over the windows, heavy with double satin armor , impenetrable to light. The faint smell of lavender water perfuming the room. No technology was aloud in my sanctuary. The art of the perfect sleep demanded it.

After getting pregnant and the excitement of impending motherhood settled in, it was decided that the baby’s crib would be in my room, because the trip in and out for late night feedings would be made shorter. This seemed like a good strategy. I would not become one of “those” mothers– the co-sleepers.

By the time the baby had arrived ,the blackouts were permanently drawn closed, and my instincts for cocooning had taken over–bringing with it piles of soft, quilted blankets, dozens of perky pillows, and lush cover lets. A gallant, upholstered rocking chair sat expectantly next to a new, slip covered daybed—a transition place for a tired new mommy to feed her baby, then promptly deposit her into the crib. This was the master plan. But nighttime rituals had quickly eroded as the baby’s needs expanded, and I found myself looking longingly at my side of the bed; the father snoring away, my stack of lonely pillows beckoning, the uninterrupted side taunting me– the bags under my eyes growing. A new plan was put into effect and I moved the crib to its rightful place, the baby’s room. I had devoured the popular French style parenting book ‘Bringing up Bebe’, and felt that after 11 months of sleepless nights, the time had come to get the “Angel” to sleep through the night.

Alas–my baby had not read the book, and rejected any attempt at putting her down by little threatening murmurings that only a mother can read; the language being ” If you put me down right now, I’m going to scream at the top of my lungs, and you will know that you are a horrible mother!” I held the baby all through these long nights, finding that she could sleep only by laying sprawled out on my chest while I rocked her in that bastard of a rocking chair that I grossly had overpaid for. I slept in spurts, glaring back at my slumbering husband and my poor pillows.

The blur of first time motherhood soon enough passed as she grew, and eventually the two of us had made it back into my room, kicking the slumbering father out of the bed. Her little body–sprawled out past its size, couldn’t be contained by a king mattress; night terrors taking away from any hopes of reclaiming a deep slumber. My satin sleep mask had been replaced with huge, dark bags under my eyes, and my mommy instincts kept me awake with monitoring her every breath and movement. All attempts to get my co-sleeper out of my bed were thwarted with manipulative screams of “Mommy, you’re so warm and cuddly, no sleepy without holding you!” The age of sleeplessness had prevailed in my perfect cocoon, the nest. I had been trapped into the realm of becoming a human teddy bear.

Years later ,seven– to be precise;  the little  tyrant moved into her own cocoon, and I tried to settle back into the perfect sleep—the lonely pillows welcoming my weary head. But my baby love had made me too restless, and I found myself tiptoeing into her room, listening to the sound of her sweet breath, while smiling down at the shadow of her little head resting atop her own happy pillow.

I  am now the happiest owner of the saddest pillows in the world.

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