It was one of those nights. A night when I should have been happy to drop right off at 10 p.m., a night I should have had no problems falling asleep, yet there I was, completely awake, minutes rolling by.
Perhaps it was the pending project, the interviews for the other project, or the ongoing work with the main project.
I should have been tired, really tired.
It was a Monday after all, laundry day in and around the other tasks, the drop off and pick up the drop off and pick up the drop off and pick up.
The two younger kids, out of school at 1:15 p.m., ask ‘how was your day’?
‘How was your day?’ As if the day could be over at 1:15 p.m. My teacher husband echos the same ask, ‘how was your day?’
Mother’s day is never done.
From wake to kids to work to kids to work to kids to wakefulness, I should be asleep now. The six loads of laundry, dinner prep, phone calls, grocery store, general juggling act I’ve done should have worn me out, yet here I am.
I think of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 27:
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
I’m just like him. Mind ranting and raving, mind digesting the meat and marrow of the day: The pre-pubescent girl who backtalked, the teen girl who wants to digest everything with me, the boy, I mean, young man, who makes me laugh, the younger boy who told me he plays alone each day because of his injury, two months in, and his friends are now all off on their own playing other games.
My heart suddenly aches.
And here I was merely frustrated because my gym-guilt caused me to set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., and now it is midnight.
Can’t do it.
Can’t do it all.
Can’t do all the things I hoped for, no matter how best I try.
I hate my limits, I hate my hunger for more, I despise the quest in me to do all things. Wish I could cut ties and turn it off so that the simple act of sleep could overtake me.
Perhaps another night. Perhaps in another season–hate that phrase as if seasons really change. Yes, yes, I know they do but each one seems an eternity.
I recall the older mothers in the stores when my babies were in the cart, “enjoy it now they grow so quickly.” Bullshit I would say. It feels like it is going to go on forever. Forever there will be dirty diapers, whiny children, needing me when I’m spent. Needing me when I have nothing left to give.
But tomorrow’s a new day, as the old saying goes, and once I sleep, I won’t be so angry. Once I sleep, I’ll remember that my kids have grown a little.
They won’t toddle in at 2 a.m.
They won’t come to cuddle.
Some are now taller than me.
I’ll remember those ladies in the store and their admonitions. Dammit. I hate being wrong. I hate not knowing the outcome, yet here I am awake and tired and muddling through.
No one told me.
No one shared that it would be like this.
The good times with the bad and all. The highs are so very high, yet the lows are real low. You feel them as though they are your very own. And your very own highs. Mine. No, theirs, yours, his, hers. Not me. Ugh, the separation seems inescapable. Un-intertwining the histories and the passed times, the pictures cannot tell the whole story.
They are in me.
They are living in me here.
Here in this sleepless night, when I thought I was okay.
I thought I had a good day, enjoying all these people still under my feet.
And I did enjoy them, I’m just left now with the undone pieces that only seem to work themselves out in the wee hours, when no one needs me, and it is quiet.
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ.