It was two o’clock in the morning and for all intents and purposes, I should have been asleep. The kids and I had finished a big day together. We had tackled the children’s museum, local bakery, playground and preschool in an eight-hour span and we were all spent. Rain was beginning to pitter-patter on the picture window behind our bed and I should have been lulled into dreamland immediately, as every other member of my family so easily was.
Yet, sleep didn’t find me until the wee hours of the morning, just a little while before my youngest toddled down the stairs in his batman pajamas, begging me to take him outside to see the sunrise. Instead, I laid there and tossed and turned, a million little questions, what-ifs and worries swirling around in my head.
Today is color week at school. What color are the kids supposed to wear tomorrow and do we even have anything in that shade? What am I going to make them for breakfast in the morning because she likes oatmeal and he likes eggs but we’re down to one egg in the carton and I need that for dinner tomorrow night. Do I make their Halloween costumes like the moms on social media or do I just run to the big box store the week before and pay way too much for the convenience of it all? Will they care either way?
This is only a mere sample of the things I ask myself in the hours before and after midnight. In the time when mothers should finally allow themselves to rest, how many of us instead lie awake with our eyes glued to the ceiling, replaying the day like an old videotaped memory? How many of us second-guess or doubt what we said or did? Or, how many look back and smile softly at videos and photos on our phones that captured our moments together? Since becoming a mother, I’ve become so much more profoundly aware of the fact that time races past us like scenery outside of a moving train. As much as I want to grab ahold of the picture and keep it in front of me, it’s changing shape, blurring and morphing with every given second.
Perhaps that’s why I want so much to get it right. Why we all do. Maybe that’s why we can’t sleep at night for thinking about tomorrow. I’ve always been an over-planner in all areas of my life. When my husband and I were wedding planning, I once met him after work in a coffee shop parking lot and sobbed on his shoulder over the wedding cake options. There were too many. I couldn’t pick one. Suddenly, it snowballed into a realization that I was totally over my head in the process and couldn’t keep up with the pressure to make everything perfect. In many ways, I suppose, that need to center the chaos never really left.
I overanalyze every decision regarding where I choose to spend my time, money, attention and focus. I weigh the options, do the math and retrace my steps 10 times before I’m satisfied with my decisions. It’s an impossible feat to keep up and a tiring act to juggle. Yet, I’m all too aware that this is the absolute most needed I will ever be in my life. There is only a sweet, brief season where little hands are reaching up to grab mine or to ask me for a hug. Soon, they’ll be off on their own and I can only hope that these days we’ve spent together in our tiny house by the side of the road will be enough to fill them with the stores of hope, joy, faith and perseverance they need for a lifetime.
So maybe I’m over-thinking this part of the journey. Maybe I’d be better served throwing my cares to the wind and going to sleep at a normal hour. Yet, I don’t think there will ever come a day when I can roll over and go to bed without them on my mind.
What are they doing now? Are they happy, secure, protected and loved on? Do they remember any of the dance parties we had, or the many trips I took across town to the library? Will they remember those mornings on the driveway, looking up at the sunrise in their slippers? I think they will. I know they will. Because it’s absolutely all I ever think about, and if they’re anything like their mama, these days will become as ingrained in them as they are in me.