"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson
Peeling back the layers.
Remember how I mentioned in an earlier post, I was afraid at night, in the dark in my bedroom? Mama often told me how hard and long her and Daddy had to fight to get me to sleep in my own bed. This is when I was five or younger. We were up in Carthage. I had good reason to be scared to sleep alone: under the bed.
I remember lying in the dark room, eyes wide open. They had to be wide open, so I could see if anything was coming to get me! Eyes wide open, staring up and out into the room, into the dark. Watching for movement. Looking for any difference in shade or shadow. When I stared long enough, the little bright colored circus animals would start floating down toward the bed. I'd watch them come down one right after another. They were bright and cheery, but I knew there was something under the bed that would run them off soon enough!
It was snakes. There was a huge pile of snakes under my bed! They only came out at night. They slithered around and covered the floor of my room. They wriggled and writhed and hissed. They couldn't climb up on the bed if I kept my eyes open. But I was trapped. Cut off from everyone by these snakes! Surely Mama didn't know about the snakes!
I'd finally break and call out for Mama and Daddy. I know they used to love me. Used to take me to the safety of their bedroom. But they couldn't see the snakes. They were too fast! Disappeared under the bed as soon as they walked in. In time, they started spanking me and making me stay in my room.
So, I had to learn new methods to cope, to deal with this dilemma. The bright circus animals whispered to me and told me if I'd just cover all but my eyes and nose with the sheet, that the snakes couldn't get through the sheet. I worried that if I fell asleep, my arm might dangle off the bed and the snakes could then raise up and strike me or slither up my arm. Again, the bright animals had the solution: Cross my arms over my chest and hold an edge of the sheet with each hand. That'd keep me snug and tight and keep me safe through the night.
Eventually, the animals stopped coming. I got a room without snakes under the bed. A lot has changed, but I still always go to sleep with my arms crossed over my chest.
What was bedtime like for you as a small child? Anything living and hiding under your bed? Any odd ritual before you can fall asleep?
Thanks for sharing!