I got home late last night. I’d been out with friends, an amazing consciouness-raising evening. I didn’t get to sleep until almost 1 am.

Then I heard Veronica let herself out of her room. What? It’s 5:30. I got up to see what was wrong. She pointed at the window and said, “Look it’s morning! I want to see a movie.”

“It’s late. You need to sleep more.” So do I.

She began to cry. There had been a nightmare. I took her weeping body back to her bedroom, and tried to find a way to comfort her.

“I called for help. No one came.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. I was sleeping.”

More tears. She looked more and more exhausted as she declared how impossible sleep was going to be.

She told me her dream, it did sound pretty scary. I thought about whether I was selfish for not letting her get up and watch a movie. But her eyes were so tired. We finally agreed that she needed a snack. But we made a bargain that she would try to sleep afterward. Milk and graham crackers were procured.

When she finished, I took her back to her room. She began to weep, “Mommy, I don’t know how to fall asleep.”

She climbed into my lap and I put my very comforting bathrobe around her. I told her a story about a tiger I knew. “She is a very beautiful tiger, and she is strong and powerful. You know what she told me? She told me I am powerful too.”

Veronica started crying again. It was hard for her to get the words out, but she finally said, “I am not powerful.”

“I think you are powerful.” Was that the right thing to say? I held her. Her breathing became more regular.

Yes, she did fall asleep. I gave it a few minutes, and then transferred her to her bed.

She slept for 2 more hours, and so did I.

I am so grateful that this is unusual now. We used to have to help her sleep every night like that. But now she is a far more independent and powerful sleeper.