This morning at 4:45 AM, an alarm went off in my house. It was not my alarm clock that fills my bedroom with the sounds of the radio at 6:00 AM each morning. It was not a car alarm from one of the neighbors’ cars or a tornado alarm in the distance. This was a loud, strange sudden beeping that startled me from my sleep then immediately paralyzed me with fear. In my muddled confusion, I guessed that it was the smoke alarm but before I could sources the sound, it stopped just as suddenly as it began.
The sound had also jarred Trey, who is usually a very heavy sleeper, awake. I told him he needed to get up and check the house. I still wasn’t sure were the sound had actually come from with the elaborate setup of two baby monitors and multiple smoke alarms in the house. Over the monitor, I heard Sophia moving around in her room followed by a rising wail as she started to cry. After Trey walked into her room, I heard her say that she was scared so I told him to bring her into bed with me. Sophia crawled up beside me in the middle of the bed and I covered her with the sheet. After his sleepy but thorough check of the house for smoke, Trey stumbled back into bed beside us.
Adrenaline from the abrupt awakening still pulsed through my body and I vibrated with alertness. Lying on my back with Sophia’s feet pressed against my leg, I listened to the sounds of the night with heightened awareness. Less than 15 minutes had passed when a sudden popping sound echoed downstairs. I woke Trey again and demanded that he get up and check the entire house again. With still no sign or smell of smoke and a security check of all the locks on the doors, he conceded that he were safe. He thought that what I had heard was the sprinklers turning on at their scheduled time of 5 AM.
Sleep was out of reach for me now, so I lie in bed thinking of all the reasons for the smoke alarm to sound, but no answers came.
Sophia was startled again by my alarm clock at 6:00 AM.
“What’s that” she asked, sitting up in the middle of the bed as her blonde curls stood out wildly from her head. I told her it was just time for me to get up for work, so she dropped her head back on the bed and was asleep again in seconds. At that moment, I envied the trust and faith that children have in their parents, that belief their parents will always make sure everything is ok.
Unnerved and unbalanced, that is how I started my day...