You wake up before the sun now and your father nudges me in bed a few times before I realize what’s going on. For a moment, I struggle to remember that you exist, because in my mind, I’ll forever be an eleven year old sleeping on floral sheets surrounded by a few stuffed animals of my own. As I pad into your room, you reach for me, asking for Bump (your bumblebee) or Cack (your stuffed cactus) and I remember my own Paddington and Beauregard and suddenly, the wave of emotion comes over me. When did the days string a garland long enough to create the years that have passed?
You like to visit the laundry room when you first wake up, because sometimes Bump and Cack go back to sleep in the washing machine. I flip on the light and squint my eyes even though the switch is on a dimmer. The sun isn’t yet up, and that tiny sliver of light feels so bright and intense and big, and I know that later this afternoon, I’ll flip on that same light and it will be shadowed by the sun so much that I’ll forget our home was ever dark enough for that dim light to make any bit of difference.
But it does. Because when things are dark, the tiniest light makes all the difference. And things are hard until they’re not anymore, until the sun rises a few hours later and the room and our lives and our hearts are filled with warmth and we forget that the darkness was ever dark enough to swallow the light.
Bee, things change so quickly. Light and dark and sunrise and sunset and summers and winters. There are seasons of good and seasons of hard and they both have the ability to swallow us whole. But you must always cling to the good. You must always set your mind on the sweet strawberries and the fresh grass and the bright, bright sun. Imprint the good into your mind so much that the dark cannot swallow your light.
Keep Bump and Cack and your blankets close, and keep your family closer. Because sometimes, the sun doesn’t come out for days and you might need a lamp to light your way.
And one day, you’ll be in the middle of a dream, snuggled into floral sheets of your own, and you’ll wake to a baby’s cry for her mother. And you might pause, looking for Bump and Cack until you realize that season has passed and you’ve slept a million years in one night. So you’ll rise, Bee, and you’ll greet the season with a light you didn’t know you had.
Until then, you can borrow our nightlight. Oddly enough, it smells kind of like strawberries.