I am Afraid of the Dark but Less So Because You Are Awake

If you were born in the 80s or 90s, you remember the show, right?

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I have a very vivid memory of watching the show while at the babysitter’s with my cousin who is two years younger than I am. She looked over at me and said, “Are you covering your eyes? Are you scared? Are you REALLY afraid of the dark?”

Of course, I said no.

But, of course, I am.


There. I admit it, Meggie, a whole couple of decades later at the age of 30 years young.

For as long as I can remember, I have been terrified to be the only one in the house awake. I have no idea why or where this comes from. Maybe my therapist can help us out with the origin of all this?! 😉

Anyway, I would continually ask my friends if they were tired when they were sleeping over or if I was sleeping over at their house. I was so scared that they would fall asleep first.

When I went to college, I moved into a dorm. Ya know, like a building with a couple hundred people in it?

Yeah, well, I would still sleep with the TV on. And it was around that time that I fell in love with Food Network. I would keep it on all day and all night to make me feel less alone and like I was not the only one awake.

In sickness and in health . . . and in the dark.

One of my very favorite parts of getting married and moving in with my husband is that I am not alone at night anymore. Marrying Q meant that I had someone to be awake with. I don’t even need the TV on Food Network. 😉

My husband will tell you that when we first got married and before we had kids, I would glance at him and would shut down the TV and living room if I saw him falling asleep. I couldn’t risk being the only one awake . . . in the dark.

I am Afraid of the Dark, but Less So Because You Are Awake.

When I delivered my first son, I loved something about the hospital stay that is typically other’s least favorite part — I loved the hustle and bustle at all hours of the day and night. People are awake. And not just a little bit — there are people awake in all capacities at the hospital at all times.

Even after I went home with my new baby and was awake, sometimes alone, in the middle of the dark night, I would remember that just a few miles away there were people awake and walking the halls of the hospital.

But still, even more so as a mom, the scary stuff happens at night. The fevers rise, the coughs get raspier, the aches and pains hurt worse, and the stomach virus always seems to come at night.

And hurricanes and storms seem to always happen when its darkest.

I felt so much less alone and a lot less afraid of the dark.

Recently, when anticipating Hurricane Laura, a dear friend who writes for New Orleans Mom sent me a message that said — “I am at work all night! Text me if you need to.”

Nikki is a NICU nurse. She works nights.

That night, I was up all night. It was our first big storm as adults with a house full of kids. And it was our first storm in our new house. There were so many things to look after and so many new sounds to get accustomed to.

My family slept a decent amount of the night and I was awake alone in the dark.

But I was not afraid.

I was not afraid for a second, even as the rain fell hard and at an angle, as the wind howled, and as the tree branches cracked and fell.

Because Nikki was awake. And I knew she would answer my text.

My Lafayette Mom Team was awake, too. We checked in with each other all night long.

And my friend Heather was awake, too. Her baby doesn’t love to sleep.

I was not afraid because my people were awake. And even if I am in the dark alone and unsure of myself, I am not really alone. They are all a phone call away. And I know that some would hop in the car and be on my doorstep in a second if I really needed them to be.

So I am afraid of the dark. And that is hard to admit as a thirty-something mama. But my village makes it ok to be afraid. Because someone is always awake.


Rebecca Autin
Rebecca is an attorney by day and a toddler wrangler by night. She is a product of divorced parents and grew up in both Thibodaux and Franklin, Louisiana. Rebecca attended Loyola University of New Orleans and Southern University Law Center. Rebecca married her high school bestie in 2012. Quinton and Rebecca went through months of infertility before giving birth to Maxwell Lincoln in 2015. In 2016, they were surprised by a baby boy due in June 2017. But, in February 2017, they suffered with incompetent cervix and delivered sweet Theodore Paul too soon. In October 2018, after an incredibly difficult pregnancy, a cerclage, and a whole bunch of bedrest, Fitzgerald Joseph was born -- a happy, healthy, and perfect rainbow. If you can't find Rebecca, you can summon her with pot of freshly brewed coffee or look for her in Target or behind the kitchen island where she is hiding from her kids with a very generous pour of red.


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