I'm here, sweetie.
What was it? Was it a bad dream?
Yes, I hate those, too. Even when you know they're not a really real thing, they're still scary. Here, let me wrap you up a little and I'll sit with you for a while and tell you a story. Would that help?
Okay, well, it's sort of an old story, but it's about you so I think you'll like it.
Ten years ago today your mommy and I were all excited because it was your birthday. Your mom was excited about today that day, but I was excited about tomorrow.
Your mom, who is a very much more sensible and realistic person than your dad, was excited because that day was the day you were going to be born. She'd carried you around for nine long months and she was so ready to have you come out and meet her. Being pregnant with you had been tough for her, and she wanted you to be born. She was ready to be a mom rather than a baby-carrier. She was ready to be YOUR mom.
I was more excited about tomorrow, though. Because I hadn't been able to do anything with you - you were inside your mom's belly and all I could see was the funny shapes you'd make on her tummy when you moved - I was so excited to be able to do stuff with you. Dads are funny like that - we like to do things; tell stories, and tickle-fight, and run and kick footballs, and scare boyfriends, and talk with you.
Yes, you, with that funny look in your bright button eyes, just like I'm talking with you now. That's the sort of thing dads like, and that's what was exciting for me about today-ten-years-ago.
So I went to the hospital all excited about tomorrow.
But tomorrow never came for us, did it, lovey?
Because something happened, and you never woke up like you woke up just now. Somewhere inside your mom's belly you passed from that darkness to another darkness, a true-life scary dream, one that no hugs and no stories could chase away.
So there were no tomorrow kisses, were there, little girl?
No nighttime talks, no bedtime stories, no tears to wipe away, no soccer games, no boyfriends, no tomorrows at all. Ten years of no tomorrows.
All that remains of you are gray ashes in the little urn beside my bed and this, these sorrowful nights when I dream that you sit up in the bed you never had, your dark hair all atousle from your pillow, your skinny little-girl arms wound around your knees and your eyes shining in the darkness as I tell you about the dreams I had that, as dreams often do, faded into formless nothings in the light of day.
Are you sleepy now, lovie? Are you ready to go back to sleep?
Of course you can give me a hug. No, no, I'm not crying. Just something in my eye.
Snuggle down now.
There. Alright, goodnight, sweetie.
Happy tenth birthday.
Sleep tight, lovie.
Bryn Rose Gellar 3/1/02-3/2/02