Friday, May 29, 2009
At 2:17 pm I wake to the alarm and stumble out of bed. I weave around the dog, over correct and run into the wall as I make my way to the bathroom. This is my “I haven’t gotten enough sleep” routine whether at home or at work. Up, stumble, pee, brush hair, wipe drool and attempt to function. I’d been asleep an hour. Add that to the nap I got at work the night before and I’m running somewhere between three and a half to four hours sleep. I’ve worked five out of the last six nights.
Today is a transition day. An attempt to switch from night to day. My husband is sleeping on the couch. He's all but embroidered a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his shirt. He too worked overnight the last two nights. The story told in our house is that I do better with little sleep. I can handle it. So he will sleep and I will pick the kids up from school.
I try not to be resentful. It’s the easy thing to do. I flash to the conversation we had this morning. My husband wants to quit his job. He hates it. Well, he doesn’t hate the job so much as the management. He naively thinks employment utopia exists. He wants the perfect job; excellent hours, good pay, no stress, flawless management. My response? Get real. Every job sucks. And I can't earn enough money to support our family on my own.
"But," I say, "there are things we can do now to decrease our expenses so that maybe, maybe in the future only one of us has to work."
"Yeah right" he says, "B. S. We’re screwed. We’ve screwed ourselves."
Yeah dude - we’re screwed because you can’t retire at forty-two. We’re screwed because I refuse work to the bone to support EVERYONE and take on 70% of the household responsibility.
He’d counter that argument. He does dishes and laundry. He babysits. He thinks I don’t notice the things he does. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t notice the things I do.
I leave the house and drive through Starbucks for an iced coffee. It’s my second purchased beverage of the day. I begin to catalogue the list of sins recently committed ... buying coffee - TWICE. Having lunch at the crepe restaurant. Not exercising for the past two days. Sleeping while my youngest watched television. Not being a stay-at-home mom. Not earning enough money to fully support our family. The dirty house. The junk in my car. And on and on in perpetuity.
And then I stop. I have to stop. This list making is getting me nowhere. Clearly the mother-of-the-year committee will pass me by but so will child protective services.
It is what it is. Nothing more and nothing less.
My mind quiets and I notice the aspen leaves fluttering in the breeze. Each leaf is cupped like the hand of a beauty contestant; waving at me, saying Hello! Look what sits before you. I may be a simple tree, residing between a strip mall and the road but I AM GLORIOUS.
And then I see the cumulus clouds gathering around the periphery of town; stacks of fluffy white portending afternoon thunder. I want to dive in and breaststroke through the gossamer mounds. Pull, kick, glide. Pull, kick, glide. I’d poke my head out the pinnacle, grin at the sun and dive back down for more.
At this point I find myself at the school. I become overwhelmingly grateful for my son. He’s clean cut, intelligent, caring, well-liked and handsome to boot. I am incredibly incredibly lucky to have such wonderful children. Perfect? No way. But incredible - definitely.
As we leave a high school student allows five, FIVE, cars to pull out in front of him which significantly alleviates traffic. I wave in thanks and this kid gives me such a big and genuine grin that it brings tears to my eyes (did I mention I was tired?).
Now it’s my turn to pay-it-forward. I let a woman in the round about. She, too, gives me a huge smile and waves. Life is not so bad.
And so it goes. I will continue to stumble through the remainder of my day and will continue to make lists, happy lists, grateful lists. Tonight I will sleep, in my own bed, for an entire night. It will be divine. And tomorrow? Tomorrow will be even better.