My SecretPosted: August 13, 2010
There’s something secret that I do, and only one or two people in this world are aware of it. I started doing this when I was a child, no telling how young, and kept on through the years, until I was hardly even aware of it. It just felt so natural to do.
It’s something I do when I get into bed at night. I think it’s part of the winding down process, feeling cozy and comfortable, secure, letting myself slip happily into sleep.
I nestle my feet into the sheets. Or into the legs of a husband. I find something soft and warm close to me, rest the sides of my feet against it, and rub softly. It lets me sink into peace.
I never thought much about it until I married Mr. Rhodes and when I naturally put my feet against his legs for the first time, he jerked them away and said, “No, no, don’t put your feet on me.” I was somewhat taken aback because what else is a husband for than to keep your feet warm on a cold night? Or to nestle against.
I don’t tell this to share an innermost secret. I tell it because something happened recently that makes me proud to tell it. It happened a few weeks ago when I stayed with my fifteen-month-old twin grandchildren — alone, in their home. Their daddy was out of town on business, and their mommy needed a get-away, so would spend two days shopping with her mother and resting. We put the babies to bed Friday night, then my daughter-in-law left. The babies didn’t know their mommy was gone and they’d be staying with someone else all night for the first time in their lives.
I was told that Jillian would wake up about 4:30 and that the thing to do was to put her in bed with me. She’d go right back to sleep until 5:30 or so. She woke up at 3:00. I heard her cry out and ran to her room.
I could see in faint moonlight coming through the blinds that Jillie knew the drill. She was standing in her crib with her three tiny baby dolls hugged to her chest, waiting to go to the big bed, where there was security and safety. I picked her up without a word, hoping she’d think I was her mommy. I put my hand on the back of her head, held her close to me, then put her in the bed right next to where I’d be, and climbed in and covered us up. There were four of in that sleigh bed, including two dogs — mine and theirs.
I breathed out, waited for my heart to stop beating hard from the startle of waking abruptly and running through the house with a heavy load in my arms, and let my head sink into the pillow. Then it happened.
I felt two little feet touch my legs. They settled in close against my skin. They began to caress, to nestle, to move softly against me. They stayed, but quietened, and I knew she was asleep.
I smiled because I knew that was one trait my granddaughter got from me. Nobody else can have that one. She got it from me.