Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Everything changes,and a lot of this has to do with Motherhood. I was lying awake at about 5:15 this morning and thinking about this. It used to be that I would go to bed at night, sit for a while and write in my journal, then fall asleep and wake up 8 or 9 hours later, well rested and ready for the new day. Now, by the time we get the kids to bed we want to have a few minutes to ourselves so we inevitably stay up just a bit later than we should. Then we realize how late it is and of course I have to check on the kids, make sure they're covered, gaze at them in wonder and kiss their sweet little faces one last time. We finally drop into bed and cuddle and talk a while before falling asleep. (Well, one of us often falls asleep in mid-sentence but I won't divulge which of us that would be!) Then, on a good night, we sleep through until 5 when Erik's alarm goes off and Poppy wakes up to nurse. Of course she's so sweet and cuddly that I don't mind this too much, and then she stays in bed with me until we get up around 8. That doesn't sound too bad, except that it seems more often than not, it just doesn't go quite that smoothly. Usually I wake up at least once to go to the bathroom. I think this is just a leftover habit from pregnancy or something. Very annoying. And of course when I'm up I have to check on the kids again, make sure they're still covered, and stroke their soft little cheeks. I stumble back to bed and usually am able to get back to sleep right away. And then there are the noises. I used to be a pretty heavy sleeper but now I have some sort of Mommy intuitiveness that wakes me up if one of my kids starts stirring. It's a pretty remarkable thing. I can even wear ear plugs (to muffle a certain person's snoring) and still hear when Poppy starts getting restless. Then, on top of the noises, there's my mind, which seems to be the biggest culprit in keeping me awake these days. When I wake up my mind swings into action. It seems I get my best thoughts in the wee hours of the night when my body is longing for more sleep because I know that all too soon the kids will be awake and needing me. Hmmm, maybe my mind knows this is the only time that it has when all is quiet and I can think clearly. So, I lie there, thinking all sorts of brilliant thoughts that I can't remember in the morning because I'm just too tired. It seems I finally fall asleep only to be woken by Peregrine calling at the top of his lungs "Hello, is anybody there? I'm speaking to you!) And so begins my morning; I crawl out of bed, tired and wondering why my sleep is so fragmented. And why was it that when I was single, and didn't need so much sleep, that it came so easily and so deeply. Maybe part of it is to teach me to rely on the Lord, and not on my own strength, since that would only carry me through about thirty seconds. If that.
Another change that I've given some thought to lately is mobility. Back in the days when I was single (and aching to be married) I would just hop in my ol' Datsun, Tess, and hit the road. Maybe go up to Seattle for the weekend to see Shelley and Corrigan, or to McMinnville, or down to California. I had a very flexible job and could pretty much go where I wanted when I wanted. I still have a flexible job in a way. I mean, in the morning hours I can run out to the store to do my errands as long as we're home in time for lunch and nap time. All I have to do is make sure the diaper bag is stocked, both kids are fed and have reasonably dry diapers, get everyone strapped in to their car seats and we're off. Sometimes I even remember to bring my wallet. By the time we're all loaded in the van I feel like it would probably just be easier to stay home. And that's nothing compared to going away for the weekend, which we manage to do every so often, usually up to stay with Paula in Camas. I don't even bother with packing bags; I just start throwing things in laundry baskets, which usually means there are piles of laundry dumped on the couch. (If we're lucky and it's clean.) So into the laundry baskets go all the kids' stuff- diapers and clothes and blankets and Peregrine's special pillow and his bear and his Bible story book and his classical music CD and his movies and his spill-proof cups and his spoons. And so on and so on. And then I pack our little cooler, because I want to show up with at least a little food, not just expect Paula to singlehandedly feed this family of four for the whole weekend. And of course Erik has to have his soy creamer and his coffee and Peregrine has to have snacks (okay, I like the snacks too). And then we have to bring the play pen and the stroller and by this time Erik is wondering if we should have gotten a small bus instead of the mini-van. And then, at the very end of this madness, I get around to packing a few changes of clothes in a bag for myself. I usually discover at this point that the shirt I wanted to wear is dirty and so I'm frantically trying things on and throwing them on the floor until I find some clothes that are not terribly frumpy. Of course I had told Erik five minutes ago that I was almost ready, which means to him that it's time to get the kids strapped in and start the van. So he comes back in and asks if I'm coming and I say I'm getting there and he looks surprised that I'm not ready yet. I finally manage to make my way out to the van, laden with five things I forgot until the last minute. At last we're on our way. We always have a great time; of course no one gets enough sleep and the kids' schedule gets all out of whack, but it's fun to get away for a few days. Coming home is nice too, although then there is all the unpacking to do. There's no where to put the dirty laundry since the baskets are full of stuff and we inevitably forget a few things at Paula's. But within a few days we're back to normal and I might even get that growing pile of clothes folded and put away!
I wouldn't trade sleepy days with my husband and family for for all the restful nights I used to have. And while I do miss being able to take off for Seattle or San Francisco (or India or Africa) I love the sameness of the days with my family- getting up with the kids, caring for them, feeding them, reading books and playing, looking forward to Erik coming home, dinner and evenings together, and finally collapsing into bed (after checking on those sweet kids one last time.) This was always the desire of my heart, and I thank the Lord for giving it to me and bringing it to pass. I know that all too soon my kids will be too big to cuddle in bed with us, and going places will be simpler, so I will enjoy the crazy days and sleepless nights that come along with these precious little ones.