I want to carpet my bedroom with spike strips. I want to lock, double lock, triple lock, deadbolt my bedroom door from the inside.
I want to stretch duct tape across my daughter's small frame, pinning it to her mattress at 8:00 and come back to strip it away at 6:30 the next morning.
I want to slide my hands into quilted oven mitts to prevent my fists from clenching.
I want to spank her. I want to hear and feel the satisfying connection of...
A wave of self-hatred crests and I begin sobbing.
I don't want another wake-up call. Her bangs tickling my nose as she leans over me silently. I don't want to jerk awake again tonight. 11:45, 2:30, 4:30, 6:00.
I want to lay my head on my pillow and close my eyes; I don't want to open them again until morning. I want to dream, rest, replenish my mind and body.
Instead the nights stretch out before and behind me, pages of a calendar filled with dotted lines where the solid, bold stripe of black ought to be between Monday and Tuesday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It has been months since we slept. Months since we went to bed and didn't meet, me angry - her desperate, in the night.
During the day we apologize. Strategize. Argue. Regret.
We celebrate small victories. Two wake-ups instead of four.
We craft star charts. Promise ice cream sundae dates.
Before bed we meditate. Massages with lavendar lotion. Drink warm milk or chamomile tea. We read sweet stories and part with reassurances and words of love.
Somewhere between tucking in and 11:45, my daughter shape-shifts. She comes silently on feline feet and hovers. A vulture peering down at me. She nudges, trying to make space in my bed, turning into a wildcat when she's turned away. Clawing, screaming, kicking, fighting.
Sometimes when Bubba is away for the week I pretend not to notice that she has slipped in to his side of the bed. I am too tired to fight and she will sleep peacefully here.
I'm probably untying every loose end we've knotted until now by letting her sleep here. But she'll sleep and so will I. We need that. And waking up next to her blonde, cornsilk hair feathered across Bubba's pillow, sheet wrinkles pressed into her soft cheeks. This is much better than feeling a vulture above me who drives me to my own wildcat.