Mother’s don’t sleep. Their minds are in sleep mode, but it takes only a small shift in the air, a whisper or a whimper for them to be on their feet. Tonight it was the creak of the door. I pulled back the comforter and let the small form squirm its way into the narrow bed. The ritual complete, I closed my eyes once more and tried to find the dream I’d left behind.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

“Sammy, stop moving.” My brain reeled. I may not be asleep, but I was neither awake.

A small hand curled around my index finger, squeezing three times. Code for, I love you.

“I love you too, sweetie. Go back to sleep now.”

“But, mommy.” Hesitation. Fear.

I forced my eyes open, willing them to focus. “What’s wrong, sweet pea?”

Dark shapes began to take familiar forms around the room. A tall chest of draws loomed on the opposite side of the room, alongside my antique writing desk. Next to the bed the clock flashed 3:33 a.m. I was going to feel like crap in the morning.


Sammy sat up, raised his arm and pointed into the darkness.

“Mommy, what is that?”

“It’s just the dresser. Lie down. Go to sleep, Sammy.”

“No, Mommy. What is that?” He pointed emphatically into the darkness. He pointed at nothing.

I held back a shiver and the overwhelming desire to hide under the covers. He must be dreaming. What else could it be?  I sat up, prepared to take him back to his room, when a shadow of movement caught my eye.

“Mommy, what is that?” His arm followed the movement across the room.

Now both our imaginations were playing tricks on our minds. At least, I thought so and then it opened it eyes.