I rarely put my daughter to bed.

My husband doesn’t mind, he says. He enjoys getting the final snuggles before he softly lays her down, cozied in her oversized sleepsack, for she’s still so small. He loves to place her on her back and watch her lovingly as she inevitably turns on her stomach, knees up, butt out, head to the side. My little cherub, sleeping soundly with the image of her beloved father fresh on her mind before she dreams.

I envy that.

The unfortunate nights I am forced to put her to bed don’t elicit the same feelings of peace it does for the two best friends. I can place her in the bed, see her turn onto her stomach, and see her sleep like a ladybug.

As soon as I exit, it begins—the crescendo of portending tragedy clogging its way into my gut and chest and throat. I stand there outside her door for minutes, gathering the courage to leave her door. I force myself to believe she’s fine. She’s fine, she’s fine. She’s fine; my anger forces the clogs to thicken and I choke outside her door unable to move away from the place I know I saw her last.

I can’t move until my husband comes back. I can’t move until he has checked on her and tells me she’s OK—it’s not the last time I’ll see her. The fear dissipates. Then the frustration replaces it, like a pulsing pressure, tightening its hold on my sanity. I want so badly to believe she’s OK. Just let me believe she’s OK.

I keep myself busy. I work more than I should. I come home just to work. I keep busy with projects on the weekends. If I keep busy, I won’t constantly think of the potential for tragedy.

But I’m ready. This fear has enabled me to be ready for any situation. I have a Plan A and B and C and so on because when something happens, I’ll be ready.

But I’m losing my daughter. I hold on to this fear so I’m not caught off guard if she goes.

Either way, I’m losing my daughter. Either way, I am not here.

I’m trying to get past it. I try to work less. I try to see her more. I’m trying.

She doesn’t say mama. I can’t help but think it’s because I can’t say goodnight.

Last night she awakened. I lifted her, the sleepy thing, so sweet in her sleepsack, fitting a bit more snugly. I rocked her and sang to her before I placed her in her bed.

I laid her down. She snuggled against the sack. She turned onto her stomach, knees up, butt out, head to the side. She looked up at me.

“Ma-ma.”

Tierney Cashman

I am a mother, wife, teacher, and part-time blogger where I reminisce about the various options you have as a mom, and how you will never choose the right one. To someone, you are a horrible mom, but it’s okay, because apparently I am, too. Find me on Facebook and Instagram