I’ll be honest with you. I’m worn out. Not worn out like a mother who is grieving the loss of a child. Not tired like a woman enduring chemotherapy and uncertainty about her future. Not exhausted like a girl who has survived a natural disaster and is trying to rebuild her life from nothing. Not even drained like a mom of a newborn who is struggling to care for him all day and all night.
But, I am weary.
Sometimes I wonder what I might accomplish in this life if I slept. You see, I haven’t slept in about eight years. I’m guessing this has something to do with my worn out state. There is a special kind of “sleep” that I developed the day that Adelade was born. It is a sort of rest that is half sleep, half listening. There is no cough, no sleep talking, no sniffle or snore that I do not hear. When it was just Adelade, it wasn’t so bad. After all, how much noise can one child make in the dead of night. But, now that there are three, well, someone is making noise all the time.
Why don’t you wear earplugs? you must be thinking. Why don’t you get a loud fan or a white noise machine?
Because I want to hear every little move they make. So punishing, isn’t it, the life of a mother? I don’t want to be exhausted, but I don’t want to NOT hear a child if he or she needs me. And, that is just one reason that, as a mother, I am really, really, really tired.
The other reasons are all about laundry. And those meals that everyone insists on having three times a day. And the never-ending battle to keep toys from taking over the house.
Oh yeah, and loving when you don’t think you have any more to give. Somehow when I think I can’t take another step, someone in this house needs me, and I can be Mama. It’s a privilege to be the most important person in a child’s life. I have that for a short time.
Being worn out is a small price to pay. Plenty of restful days are coming, when these little people are out on their own and my house is quiet at night. I wonder if my half sleeping habits will continue then. Will my heart still be listening for those little sounds when my children are gone?
I think after I sleep for a solid week or two, I will miss those sounds. I will miss being needed. I will miss the clinging. I will miss the worn out.
This is what I try to remember on the especially tiring days. These babies are mine for now. I have plenty of time for sleep. But, I have little time to be Mama in the night. And, some of my sweetest memories of the past eight years occurred during the loneliest part of a long, dark night. They are special secrets I carry in my heart, sweet expressions and prayers in a dark house and moments with God and a dear baby that He blessed me with.
They are worth so much more than an hour of sleep.