“I Got Used To Sleeping With You.”

posted Monday October 18th, 2010

A thought occurred to me yesterday — somewhere between Portland and Phoenix — and I haven’t been able to shake it.

Sophie’s more demanding, but Annabelle’s got higher expectations.

That may not be the most P.C. of statements, and it may not be true forever, but for now I think I’m going to have to stand behind it. Funny that it didn’t occur to me til I got my four days alone with my older daughter.

I had a fantastic time in Portland.

When asked, Annabelle insisted she did, as well. But it’s hard to tell for sure with that one.

She registered some serious displeasure once or twice, and was certainly tired at the end of each long day, but for the most part seemed content. It’s just that Annabelle didn’t ooze joy in quite the way her sister does. She never does, I realized, as Annabelle napped against my side on the plane and I reflected on our four days together.

I know that’s typical. No one else I know wears her heart on her sleeve quite the way Sophie does. I was shocked on this trip to Portland to realize that in some ways, I prefer it.

Me, the one who doesn’t (forgive me, universe) suffer fools.

Sophie is so much harder than Annabelle in so many ways — and so often, that’s my focus. But in this case, for once, it’s the opposite.

I never have to wonder about whether or not Sophie is having fun. She tells me.

I worried all weekend about whether Annabelle was having fun, even though I shouldn’t have. She was enchanted by Portland, which she kept comparing to New York City, and her favorite part was when we wandered around downtown at night. We spent hours in the gigantic bookstore Powell’s, hunted for acorns, giggled with friends (both mine and hers) and she loved my very favorite store, the vintage treasure chest Flutter, as much as I do. (Maybe more. See her hamming it up in the picture above.)

But I worried about the stuff we didn’t have time to do, about whether she was missing Ray and Sophie, about whether I was much fun.

When we got home, Sophie opened her package of paintbrushes and hugged them like I’d brought her King Tut’s treasure. Annabelle curled up on the couch, quiet. Tired, I figured. She and Sophie took a bath and we had a brief family sing-along to Ray’s guitar, then it was time for bed. We tucked each girl in, and Ray retired to the bedroom after I claimed the TV.

The house was quiet for a while, then I heard a door open. I turned, looking for Sophie, my restless sleeper. Instead it was Annabelle. Red-eyed, she announced her stomach hurt.

“I think I’m lonely,” she finally admitted, after a long health-related quiz. “I got used to sleeping with you.”

In that moment, I knew without a doubt that Annabelle had a good time in Portland.

“I got used to sleeping with you, too,” I said, making room next to me, even though such behavior is typically forbidden past bedtime in our house. “Come here.”  

So Annabelle crawled on the couch and we extended our trip just long enough to see who got sent home on Project Runway last week.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, family, travel by Amysilverman

7 Responses to ““I Got Used To Sleeping With You.””

  1. I don’t know any mother who could read this post to the end without tears. I was just getting ready to go out, so I’ll have to wait a moment and recover from my teary face (I don’t cry pretty!), but I am so grateful you shared this moment with us. Mothering is just this–little tiny island moments of exquisite affirmation in the sea of DoingTheBestWeCan.

  2. Awwwww…I hope she still says that when we are all very old women. And I do think she will. AB has that understated cool which, in my opinion, along with her unmistakable talent, will ensure her the WIN in Project Runway Season 17. Just a wild guess. :D

  3. Sounds like Annabelle doesn’t suffer fools gladly either- I can appreciate that quality! But it can be misunderstood as insensitive.
    I know that for me, Kayli is such a gift because I am seriously fun and lovingness deficient. I am constantly wondering where and who she came from with her sweet face pats and hugs, her emotional intelligence. I feel lucky.

  4. mimi — so perfectly put. thank you! i’m honored.

  5. Wow. Thanks for sharing this moment. My heart feels puffed up.

  6. first: this post is awesome.

    second: that’s what I get for not getting to your blog for a week or so, I miss the fact that you’re coming to my town… not that I would’ve wanted to interrupt your visit with annabelle, but so would’ve loved to have had a cup of coffee with you!

    ah, next time…
    (as I say to maya as well every time I found out she was just here in p-town!)

  7. I’ll be back!!!! Coffee for sure.

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