The glowing candles warm the dark, and voices sing the wondrous words that surround you with everything Christmas, Silent Night- sleep in heavenly peace. All is calm. All is bright.
At that moment, all is right with the world. All is warm and comforting, wonderful, and the busy, whirlwind world, stops spinning.
Then comes our own Silent Night at home. The dream of restful, quiet, cold, winter, but …… Silent Night of sleep. It arrives with stars and a blanket of grayish black. The moon makes the snow glow providing the perfect night light.
Goldi has her favored blanket, her heated rice bag, her feet adorned with lavender oil, a weighted blanket, and her night light glowing up her room like a sunrise. We set the stage for the All is calm.
We nestle in for our long winter’s nap. How I want the LONG. WIth the burdens we carry on our backs each day- Rest is more than needed. The covers warm me and there is nothing but the noise of the walls sounding off. I begin dreaming and then…
No need to ask :
“Who is there?”
It’s Goldi knocking on her OWN door. I pretend it’s only the walls talking again. But then it crescendos into “I’m awake!I need something!” Goldi waits plastered against the door’s face listening for my footsteps. It’s a mystery why it’s her door and not mine.
Ask and ye shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened.
There is a sunset glow that flows out of the small crack of her door. A safe and soothing pink called Quiet Coral surrounds her. The softness of her blankets caress her. She wears headphones that literally whisper Silent Night. John Rutter and some choir of boys from England have sung her to sleep since Christmas.
Knock and the door shall be opened. I stumble over to her room and slowly open the door eyeballing the scene.
” I hear the rain. I hear the wind. I don’t want to be alone.” She whimpers.
I repeat the bedtime cycle of story, prayers, and a kiss. I press her down in comfort.
When she was a baby, there was the Baby Wise or the No cry sleep solution. There was the Ferber Method. There was white noise and the baby monitor. What ever happened to just snuggle up to your Teddy and sleep?
40 to 80% of kids with autism have sleep problems according to WEB MD. These kids have abnormal melatonin regulation so they may release their melatonin during the day instead of at night. I didn’t think much of melatonin until this newfound night challenge. I didn’t even think about melatonin until its “abnormal regulation” required some checking into. Ever since Goldi realized the busy sound of rain her sleep is restless. Ever since the wind aroused the wild of the night, her sleep is full of anxiety. Ever since the darkness became a cold suffocating blankness her sleep is full of worrisome what ifs. Goldi has autism. A good night’s sleep adds yet another obstacle on this journey.
“Don’t leave me alone in here! I will have no mom! This just isn’t going to work!” she shrieks.
Reasoning helps very little because her highly stimulated brain has been let loose. No amount of “it’s going to be okay” will do.
Silent NIght, Holy Night- All is calm, All is bright- Those words stopped wars. Enemies turned friends who played a game of football, traded chocolates, and shared family photos. Those word, so familiar to many, cause us to ponder the kind of peace that is beyond our understanding but is for us to hold and give us a Heavenly Peace.
I start the headphone whispering again. Goldi squeezes her eyes shut as if to really listen:
“Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright. –
Silent Night, Holy NIght, Son of God, Love’s pure Light-
Radiant Beams from Thy Holy face
With the dawn of Redeeming Grace
Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Sleep in Heavenly Peace.