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Challenge: Sleep Solutions

Sleep with one eye open!

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Ahhhh …..those days of sleeping in or getting a full night of sound sleep are long gone. I loved being a teenager. My mom used to say, a mack truck could drive through the house and I would sleep through it. I never slept so good. I haven’t had sound sleep like that in years. Then again, I don't think I have slept soundly since the day my daughter was born. Does any mother every really sleep sound again? I can admit that I haven't. I am honest with myself and I’m ok with never sleeping sound again. Isn't that part of being a mom. To sleep with one eye open, one ear turned to the ceiling to hear even the faintest cry?

I think I slept standing up over my daughters crib for the first month of her life. I needed to get used to her sounds, her breathing pattern, the gurgles and coos that became her language and communication. Lets not talk about the craziness of putting a mirror under her nose to check if it got foggy or putting my ear to her back to listen if she was breathing. Go ahead, admit it, you did it too! As time passed, I could hear a pin drop a mile away in the silence of the night, I mean, I could hear if my baby was moving or sneezing or having a dream. By the time she was 5, I was divorced and my little girl found her way into my bed where she would cuddle in close and twirl my hair until she fell asleep. Secretly, while sad over the loss of a marriage, I was happy to have that place in my bed for her. There were many times I would just lay there in awe of her peace, watching her sleep soundly, safely, protected and innocent. I loved every minute. She slept with me until she was 10. A time I cherished because as a single mother working full time, I looked forward to that time with her. It is where I learned about so many of the things that consumed her thoughts. She shared her fears about the divorce, the struggles in school, the kids that hurt her feelings or the anxiety she was feeling about an upcoming test. As a single mom, daily life was a very calculated, planned routine and this time together forced me to shut out the world and connect with her, in such a way that I really had a chance to listen and learn about who she was, what thoughts and worries she experienced and who she dreamed of becoming. It was definitely a treat to experience that closeness. I still didn't sleep sound because I would think about everything else I shut off while we would talk. What would I make for dinner tomorrow? Did I take the laundry out of the dryer? Do I have to take the garbage out? Finally, I finish running through my mental checklist and fall asleep. No sooner do I drift off, I am awakened and about to endure the sleep assault she would ensue. Punches to the nose, sideways spinning and there goes my sleep again as my brain would also awaken… Right back to where I left off… What are the weekend plans like? Who would she invite to sleep over. Ha ha! It’s vicious cycle. And so on… it went on for many years like that… there were dances, sleep overs, sleep away camp, friend fights, heartbreak, a driver license obtained, proms, vacations… you get it. There are always, always, always things to worry about when you are mother. You never really ever sleep peacefully again. Fast forward to today, she is a sophomore in college, and I still say good night, every single night. Sometimes she responds sometimes she doesn't. It is terrifying all the same. Will she get home from class ok, is she walking alone, is her phone away so she could pay attention to her surroundings. Admit it, you do it too… it’s our make up, its how we operate… I sleep with the phone next to my bed, ringer on in case she needs me. I check before I go to sleep and I check when I wake up to pee at 3 am. I don't care who you are, who you claim to be. As a mother, you never, really, ever, sleep sound again. Make no mistake, I’m not complaining, I have no shame admitting it. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t trade it for the world…

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