I started my day today at 2:30…am.
We have two beautiful children. They eat well, play willingly by themselves, reach their milestones early, are friendly, affectionate, bright, clever…but when it comes to sleep they kind of drop the ball. A good night sleep for us still means waking anywhere from 2-4 times a night for one, or sometimes both, of them. Our 9 month old is particularly bad at the moment. With two teeth coming through and on the verge of walking, she’ll wake between 1-2am and then stay awake until about 4am.
Last night was no exception. She would not be put back to sleep, and as desperately as I want rest I will not leave her to cry. So I lay in the dark next to her trying to hush her to sleep, when her nappy leaks. Woohoo. With a thundercloud over my head and sunshine in her smile we leave our dark cozy room in search of clean clothes (which are of course piled in baskets in the lounge room).
I boil the kettle, change clothes and after much rocking and swaying she finally falls asleep again. Its 5am, too late to go back to sleep, we have Mass in a few hours. I lay her on the couch, make tea in the largest cup I can find, and turn on the fairylights in our dining room that I’d hung for our anniversary dinner a couple of weeks back.
I sit in my chair just across from the tiny bundle on the couch and try to calm.
“Lord, why do you do this to me? This lack of sleep is killing me, and I just know that the day ahead is going to be hard. I’m exhausted. Being patient is so hard at the best of times, without sleep – nigh on impossible! Why do you set me up for failure like this?”
The things you say when you’re tired right?
Feeling sorry for myself, I drink my tea. Its hot and strong and helps my pounding head. It gives me something to be grateful for, and breaks through my grumps just enough for me to finally ask the question,
“Lord, why am I awake? What do you want?”
It comes back so fast, almost before I’ve even finished my thought,
“I want to spend time with you.”
“…and you can’t do this during the day?!”
Pretty sure people in the Bible got struck down for being rude…
“You say you’re busy.”
So I take a breath, another sip of tea and begrudgingly embrace the moment. I think of One Thousand Gifts and try to name them Ann Voskamp style.
– hot tea in my hands
– rare silence of the house
– warm glow of twinkling lights
– howl of the wind outside
– rattle of the tin shed roof
– soft squeaks coming from tiny sleep-thief
I sit in silence a long while. I spend time with God. Then impish me comes back and thinks,
“So, I’ve spent time with you, does this mean I get to sleep tomorrow night?”
Amazingly there was no lightning bolt. I think Our Lady must pray very hard for me…
The sun begins to creep over the hill and I hear the first birdsong. Will my day be easier to bear because of this experience? It should be, but in truth I’ll probably still struggle to be the patient, gentle mother I want to be. I guess the point of sharing this with you is to simply say that God loves you, and that He wants to spend time with you too, if you’ll let Him.