Once upon a time, I used to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Not anymore. Very rarely do I get a full night of shut-eye. When my children were babies I would be up at all hours of the night feeding and rocking. I would relish the thought that when they became a little older I would be blessed with a bit more continuous snoozing. Alas, as it turns out, sleep is still just a fairy tale!
When you have the wee-ones, you make very important choices while the babies are sleeping: “Shall I eat, sleep, shower, or any of the other 1001 items on my list?” While our sleep has certainly improved, I can definitely see how once you become a parent you will never sleep a full night for a very, very long time. The reasons for sleepless nights just evolve. Currently we are in the bad dream stage (again). I can’t blame them for wanting the comfort of Mom and Dad after a bad dream. I remember doing the same thing as a kid. I always felt safer with Mom and Dad, even into my teen years.
Whoa! There is another sleepless adventure just waiting for me — the TEEN years! I wonder how many times my Dad sat up at night waiting for me to come home safely? Come to think of it, my Dad still calls to make sure we get home okay…then he can go to bed. I was a teen in the pre-cell phone years. I can’t imagine how my Mom fretted then because NOW she can’t stand it if I don’t answer the phone. She calls both my lines (twice) then she will move on to my husband’s phone to find me. I have also received calls from both parents asking me if I have heard from my sister after multiple attempts at her cell phone. My take-away from this: they love us and worry never ends.
I do that now… worry. I try real hard not to do it because it is wasteful to worry in the middle of the night, especially when a full night of sleep is a hot commodity. I toss and turn and eventually I offer it up so I can get some good REM. As it turns out, the kids know exactly when I have fallen into a deep sleep because that is precisely when they need me. For the first 5 years I would get up and take them back to bed (sometimes several times a night). Now I am passed that stage and I will only get up about 25% of the time to take them back to bed. The other 75% of the time I make room for them in my bed. They sleep better, I sleep better. A win-win for us, not so popular with my husband. Of course, he notices that they have entered the bed-zone only when he wakes with a foot in the middle of his back. He does not wake upon their arrival. I believe that to be a common genetic make-up of the male species (note I said common, not exclusive).
It is a true blessing and honor to be a parent. We are granted such a huge gift and responsibility to take care of these small people until they are ready to enter the world on their own without our constant supervision. If we do our job well, we show them what they will need through faith, family, love, respect, personal responsibility, compassion, and perseverance. I did not realize greatness of parenthood until until I became a parent. I had a very deep revelation that the word love doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about my children. The even bigger thought here was that we are all children that are loved with that immense greatness that no words can express.
I don’t mind a little less sleep if it means a small person is comforted. My Dad doesn’t mind a little less sleep if he knows that we are safe and my Mom will take a little less shut-eye to make sure all is well with her children. Just keep in mind, if you see me and I have a few extra dark circles under my eyes or I yawn while in conversation, that I have earned these Dark Circles of Love. Oh, and you are really not boring…I could just use a little afternoon nap to catch up on my zzzz’s.