Nap times didn’t coincide today, did they?
Ours didn’t either. In fact, as my baby drifted off to sleep, finally, his big brother popped his head up with a cheeky grin.
“No, no Moana right now, sweetie,” I said, patting his back and trying to coax him back into slumber before he was too awake. But he was very much awake. And I was very much tired. Mama needed a nap today too. I had hoped for an overlap. Even twenty minutes. But we were awake and bedtime was faraway.
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It was just oatmeal.
A normal, healthy breakfast. One that hundreds, no thousands, of children love. I had even offered “fancy” toppings like sliced bananas, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and five chocolate chips – because he’s five and five of things makes him happy. But he wanted to argue. He did not want oatmeal. And we were running late already.
My fuse felt short. I was so tired of these conversations.
We compromised. Through gritted teeth I unwrapped a granola bar and pulled the block of cheese from the refrigerator. One bar, one slice of cheese, five bites of oatmeal. Today, something for breakfast was important. No way was I sending a child who gets hangry to school. One tired caretaker is plenty.
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Feverish daughter settled. Oldest son directed to bed. Toddler rocked. Baby quietly swinging in the swing. Not asleep yet. But soon. Soon. Who could resist that sway? I know I couldn’t. If only they made mama size swings.
But enough of that wishful thinking. There is an evening to do list calling …
Switch laundry, pack lunches, complete tax paperwork, pull meat from the freezer for dinner tomorrow, assess emails for tonight’s “musts”, unpack one lingering box from our move – at least one each day has been my goal.
But the toddler is whimpering. Water is needed by another. And I told myself I would snuggle my son before he drifted off to sleep. Because no one likes to be sent to bed without a hug and a prayer. Who first? Who next? S.O.S. I’m tired. We’re all tired. But they need me and I need space and someone is going to give. Someone is going to cry. And soon, we’ll need laundry. And people need to eat tomorrow.
– – – – –
I slept well.
From midnight to 4am. A quick nursing session and then back to sleep til 7. It felt like a whole night. A whole, luxurious night.
But today, my heart is tired.
There is a diagnosis. There are questions. There is a change of plans, a dashing of hopes. There is brokenness and there is worry. It’s a spiral. One that leaves me weak and wondering. What can I do to fix this? Fix that? What can I give, how can I make it better, what will change if …
I sit down to brainstorm. Thinking will help. A list maybe. I send a quick text to just say – I’m here. Here with no answers, no fix, but here just the same. We can be tired of things like this together. We can pray for rest for our bodies and our hearts. I will for you? You, for me?
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It’s 2:32am and I just crawled into bed.
But I’m up within minutes, because I think the baby needs to burp. Or toot. Or something. Something that is only being fixed by rocking. Rocking rocking rocking. And patting. And humming. We’re together in the dark and right when I hear my husband snore, I yawn. Because I’m tired. Tonight, because, obviously #twothirtyam, but more just really deep down inside of me. The bone shaking kind of tired. The will I ever feel refreshed again kind of tired.
But I’m awake and I feel happy. Really, better than happy. I feel content and joy-filled. Because this little one, with no words, exudes peace. He is growing before my eyes and maybe, if I sleep, I’ll miss it. And I don’t want to miss it.
And I think that’s why it all feels OK.
Because being tired means I’m living. It means I’m loving. Each day I’m running from fulfillment to fulfillment, joy to joy. And yes, headache to headache. But it always comes full circle. The hurt turns to wholeness and the tears turn to laughter. I’m am in love with this tiredness, because I’m in love with all of those who make me most tired.
This tiredness is living. This tiredness is love.