Good Night Shantel

When our daughter, Shantel, lost her sight just before she turned two, bedtime became very much dependent upon sticking to a routine. Because Shantel has no sight, not even any light perception, she has nothing to trigger her brain that it is nighttime, and time for her to go to sleep.

When she was a baby I tried hard to stick to a predictable routine that she could count upon. When I got home from work we would have dinner, then I would give her a bath,  put her pajamas on her, and spend quality time with her that centered around calm activities such as reading to her, playing with her dolls, helping her put large piece wooden puzzles together etc. Anything that would help relax her and not overly excite or stimulate her… When it was time for her to go to bed, I would rock her and sing to her until she fell asleep…

When Shantel grew a little older, bedtime became more of an effort to teach her how to help herself fall to sleep. To accomplish that we bought her a small Fisher Price tape recorder that also played pre-recorded music specifically designed to help children fall to sleep… Shantel loved this recorder because it was easy to operate and we taught her how to load and unload tape recorded stories and songs all by herself…  One of Shantel’ s favorite things to play on her tape recorder was The Tail of Squirrel Nutkin… Oh, how Shantel loved that story… she would play that recording over, and over, and over again until she finally fell asleep… Our bedroom was right next door to Shantel’s bedroom so of course I fell to sleep many, many, nights to the songs and stories Shantel would listen to on her little recorder…

As time went on, and Shantel outgrew her childhood songs and stories… she took to reading her favorite braille books in bed until she was tired enough to fall to sleep. I remember when Shantel was in grade school, and my husband, Bill, was working graveyards which sometimes required him to work weekends… Shantel would ask me if she could sleep in bed with me while Papa was working… I told her she could as long as she could turn the pages to her (huge) braille books quietly so as not to wake me up with every turning of the page… Shantel agreed and we both loved the time we had together laughing and talking until I said “I’m going to sleep now so read quietly…” And she did…

When Shantel outgrew the desire to sleep in my bed while Papa worked the graveyard shift… she still had the need to know I was near-by “just in case she needed me in the middle of the night…” I took her hand and showed her that there was only one wall separating my bedroom from hers and all she had to do was knock on that wall and I would come to her… Shantel loved knowing I was just a wall away from her and from then on, every night, after we said our prayers, and I went to my room, she would knock three times on my wall just to see if I would respond which I always did until I finally told her to just knock on the wall three times just before she goes to sleep and I will knock back three times to let her know I’m still there and she is safe…

As Shantel grew into a young woman, she outgrow her childhood needs… Instead of knocking on the wall before she went to sleep, we would give each other a hug before she went to bed as I said ” I love you Shantel, and she would say I love you too…”

When Shantel moved out of our home and into her own apartment, I so missed being able to tell her goodnight and that I love her.. You see, as her mother,  I don’t ever want Shantel to go to bed and not hear the words ” I love you”… Even though Shantel calls me almost everyday and we talk about lots of things, and I always end our call with “I love you… and she responds with the same words to me… bedtime is different, at least it is to me…

So now, every night, before I go to bed… I send Shantel a little text that goes something like this:

Going to bed, check your doors, and never forget how much you are loved. Papa, Carmen, and Mom.

Good Night Shantel.

Stay Tuned!



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 01:49:02

    Pure sweetness. Love you!


  2. katsbynp
    Aug 11, 2014 @ 01:02:40

    What a beautiful post! After reading I texted both of my kids to tell them I loved them. Thank you for sharing.


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