It’s 4:29 AM and I am not my biggest fan.
Why do I get up? Why do I listen to him? Why don’t I let him fend for himself in these wee small hours? I think it’s because there’s some part of me that’s pretty sure the emergencies will only happen in the middle of the night, and if my son calls for me, then he must need me.
But most of the time he’s sleep walking. He calls from his bedroom or he stands in my doorway or he stands next to the sleeping lump that I am, and he says “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mom. Momma. Mom. Mom. Momma. Mommy.”
And when I answer him, he stares blankly at me, waiting for instructions.
He usually says, “What do I do now?”
“It would be awesome if you would go back to bed.”
Or “Mom, what are we gonna do?”
“We’re going to go back to sleep.”
“Mommy, how about those rockets? Do you know how to do that?”
I don’t know about the rockets or how to do anything with them, but his sleeping self needs to know his mom has things under control. So I say, “I do know. It’s time to go back to sleep.”
At 3:40, I’ve been up more times than I can count, making the 17 steps from my bed to his. But he’s awake again, this time with what he claims are the worst stomach pains he’s ever had, and couldn’t I just please – “Please, mommy, momma, mom. Please. Mom. Mommy. Please.” – go downstairs and put the heat pack in the microwave for two-and-a-half minutes. Or at least talk to him while he goes, except we both know he’s not going to go and he’s not going to go to sleep until I get up and handle this.
Tonight, I introduced him to Tums. Buddy, take two. This is magical medicine. It will help so much, and it will get you through the night. In the morning, let me know how it went. Of course not sooner. Wait until morning to let me know.
Except then he finally fell asleep and ultimately wanted to talk to me again. I.can’t.do.this. I mean, I can. Obviously, I can; I am.
In other news, I’m not really myself in my awake hours, which shouldn’t really be shocking, given what’s happening in my sleeping hours.
I accidentally watched a YouTube video where a man dies on the sidewalk. Normally I say about sensationalized things, and people dying on screen, “That’s not really how it happens. That’s not what it looks like.” But no, that was kind of exactly how it happens. It was too real, too much of what I know, too much of what I’ve seen, and I didn’t know what I was watching until he was dying and I was watching it. And it was so spot on. So, great. Now that’s in my mind.
My son has recently learned the story of Romeo and Juliet, and he’s obsessing over the death scene and begging me to find a video, somewhere somehow, of Romeo and Juliet drinking poison. Good grief. No, I will not find that on YouTube for you.
One of them brought home a snail this week. They named him Slimy, I called him Mike, and we found him dried up on the carpet two mornings later.
I vaguely remember having a conversation yesterday where I said I was proud of myself for being single for three and a half years. Which is ridiculous, and I also don’t really remember the conversation, which makes me want to crawl in a hole and not talk to anybody unless I can be sure I have all of my faculties about me, and let’s be honest, I can never be entirely sure.
Also, the phrase ‘mental faculties’ gives me an image of a professorial team trolling my brain. They wear glasses and neck ties and cardigans. They carry books and clipboards. They consult and confer. And usually one of them is missing.
My wedding anniversary is in two days. Would be in two days. (Does one still have an anniversary if one is no longer married?) I want this to be merely a fact. I want to take it in stride. But it is still this rusty nail that pokes right out of the calendar.
There are two weeks out of the year when all my compasses wobble and shake: the third week of December and the third week of July. I can plan and strategize or I can do nothing at all to prepare. Either way, my inner alarms are going off.
It’s sort of like teaching kindergartners in the middle of an unscheduled fire drill. You keep your voice calm and steady, you let them know you’re in charge and in control, and all the while you’re counting heads over and over and reminding yourself that this could become a real emergency at any time, and if something goes wrong you have to be ready and accountable for the children under your care. You lead your line to the back of the playground, you follow procedure and routine. But something in your mind is on high alert because this is a break in the routine, a reminder that everything could fall apart in a moment’s notice.
Birds are singing because they’re all very aware that the sun is coming up very soon. Thank you, birds. I know.
I’m not rereading these paragraphs. I’m not editing them. I’m just posting it. In the name of someday recalling this season in its unedited version.
I am so tired. And I’m pretty sure I will be for at least the next ten years.
A little boy just staggered into my room, with a pale face and bleary eyes and a frantic voice, calling out, “Where is my mom? Why is my mom not here?” I pulled back the blanket and welcomed him into my bed. I said, “Buddy, I’m here. I’m right here. Are you having a bad dream?”
But he didn’t answer me because he was sleeping.