Friday, May 29, 2009

Silver Lining

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.


elk said...

such truth my friend ~we all have the issues just fill in the blanks of your laid yours out so honestly...i will look at the sky in the morning and smile knowing you got a full nights rest!

Amy said...

fatigue takes a terrible toll on the mind. good for you for finding the silver lining. keep your eyes on the prize and hang in there - tomorrow *will* be better.

Gayle said...

None of us is perfect, or any where near perfect. I love that you stopped yourself from making the negative list and started noticing the good things. Sometimes that is so hard to do, especially if you haven't had enough sleep. Hope you had a wonderful nights sleep in your own bed last night!

Bush Babe said...

These are struggles we all have... not the same EXACTLY granted, but the same conversations the world over. The trick (as you wisely say) is in FINDING that beauty and calm about you and hanging onto it, absorbing it, letting it settle the demons and dust, to softly bring perspective to the view.

Great post.

TAMI said...

Blessings on your tomorrow - it is fresh in purpose and opportunity. It's all relative, I know. There really are people who are much worse off than we, but we mustn't deny our pain, refuse to acknowledge it, or stuff it away. When pain in acknowledged truthfully, the joy that comes later is multiplied in sweetness!! "It is what it is."

Jessica @ May the Beauty said...

I've been thinking of this post often since I first read it. THANK YOU for giving me a story I can relate to. I sometimes feel alone in my money, souse, child frustrations and you made me feel less alone.

Honorary Indian said...

I LOVE this post. I can relate on a lot of levels...not the working-outside-the-home level. But the husband who doesn't like his job (I tell him to be grateful he HAS a job) I struggle with a great deal. You have a way with words.

Little Girl Big Glasses said...

You are SO not alone...I also have a "we're screwed because we're not extremely wealthy" person on my sofa. But you handle it so gracefully. Thanks for sharing...