I hear his breath beside me, this little man of mine, with a long, quiet, slumbering rhythm. His tender cheeks grow rosy, pressing against silky white cotton. Wisps of still baby-fine hair cling to the warmth of his face. The night air has grown cool, but he burrows deep into quilts and blankets and feather pillows piled plush and welcoming. The old milkglass lamp with its knobby hobnail texture glows softly in the dark.
There are nights when I hear the call of a little-boy voice, closely followed by the muffled padding of feet running across the carpeted floor. Tiny toes grip the edge of the old bed as his legs stretch their maximum span to climb up into a waiting respite... comforting and secure. This is one of those nights. When the world seems less certain, even to a little boy in Superman jammies, mama's bed chases away the worries... and dreams come sweetly.
Mama's bed. New to me. Old to the world. Oh, that it could whisper this night.
How many hands have reached across seeking the other? How many apologies have been offered before the day closes? How many whispers of "I love you" drifted up into the night? Hearts joining... two halves as one whole... growing into a family.
Nearly two hundred years.
How many memories?
I remember when I first saw this old bed. I just couldn't forget it. Circa 1820 to 1840. Once sold through Christie's, offered to me by the kindest of people... the kind you want to hug like family. Now it nestles in the retreat I've only begun to create. Seconds after I saw it, my hands ran down the mahogany headboard... from its graceful, simple curves to a smooth, solid, single plank. One wound of substance. Oh, that it could speak! Rare. Treasured from the first moment. Heartstrings tying before I could even wonder to a history unknown.
Now I wander there.
Since this lovely little bed was carved and planed by a man's hands, the world has changed. So much has happened. My Cherokee ancestors were urged along the Trail of Tears... until they stopped... caring for the ill... and lost their papers... changing a legacy forever. Someone's head rested weary... unknowing... here that night. Stonewall Jackson penned letters to his beloved Esposa as the Civil War tore our country into a frayed remnant of itself... dividing families, land, and loyalties. A mama slept in this bed. Did she weep silently for her husband, her son... or both? Fathers and uncles, brothers and cousins divided. Did they return to rest here? Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. A family went to sleep in shock and uncertainty. Where once there was but a candle at the bedside table, a lamp now glows. World War II and the Depression settled in like a night of their own... dark and heavy. Aching feet stretched to this old footboard... thankful for a place of comfort. Little boys and girls tumbled in wide-eyed with dreams as the first man landed on the moon, and sleep simply couldn't come as they delighted in the "what-could-be"! Such a rich history. Nearly as old as our nation itself. Beautiful. Precious. A richness that cannot be recreated.
"It's you," came the words of a friend... hushed and almost involuntary.
It is me. What I would hope to be. Solid. Simple. Useful. Imperfect. Yet treasured.
Here snuggles will blossom into giggles. Stories will capture little-boy imaginations and tickles will surprise their toes. Late night projects will begin and end. Stitches will be sewn, ice cream savored, coffee sipped. Sleepy eyes will delight in pastel sunrises filtering through the treetops. Art from journeys savored and photographs of memories created will surround. Quilts will grow softer. Generations will increase. Prayers will be prayed. Life will be lived.
Mama's bed... and tonight the dreams come sweetly.
From my heart and my home this night,