I was surrounded by the noises of “night.” Our bedroom fan quietly hummed in the corner, the boys’ monitors admitted white noise through the quiet room, Brian laid beside me snoring loudly, while our dog, Belle, laid in her bed on my other side snoring softly. I scrolled through Pinterest looking at pictures of home decor…it was 12:15 am…and like always, last night, I was the only one up in our house.
I stretched and sighed loudly as I looked over at Brian…oh, how I envied his ability to sleep like a baby. Throughout the past 18 years, I have never stopped marveling at how deeply and undisturbed he slept, while I spent endless nights beside him tossing and turning…the notorious night owl.
I clicked off Pinterest and pulled up my Notepad. I began typing the mile long list of things that I needed to get done today, you know, all of the things you keep putting off until you absolutely can’t avoid them anymore. When I got done, I reviewed the many items I had jotted down. This list was going to take me all day to complete, but no worry, I was going to power through it and knock it out.
I finally fell asleep around 1:00 am. As I drifted off, I began to enter a blissful dream. I was laying in a lounge chair by a pool in the middle of a massive field. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing lightly, and the tall grass that surrounded the pool’s pavement gently swayed back and forth as if in greeting. I could feel myself falling deeper into the dream…I was relaxed, alone, and calm. And then…I could hear what sounded like a muffled little voice coming from the edge of the tall grass. I couldn’t make it out exactly, but I could hear the little voice saying the same thing over and over again…like a mantra. My mind became disoriented, and I could feel myself teetering between dream and reality as the little voice became louder and clearer. Before I opened my eyes…I knew what I would see. I took a deep breath and opened my left eye…a little chin and smile stood inches away from my face…then a little chuckle, “Good morning Mommy!”
It was 3:00 am. It was most certainly NOT morning, but our little Graham (who just turned three) hasn’t consistently slept through the night since the day he was born. I shook Brian awake, and as Graham hopped on the bed, he said, “Goodbye Daddy, I sleep with Mommy…you go sleep on couch!” He pointed his little finger towards our bedroom door. Brian said, “Yeah, yeah,” and still mostly asleep grabbed a pillow and walked out of the bedroom. Now, you may be thinking, “Poor Brian, he has to sleep on the couch.” BUT I can assure you that Brian has the better end of this deal. Besides the fact that sleep is like the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham for Brian (he could fall asleep on a train, in a car, in a tree, on a boat, in the rain…you get the picture), the bigger point here is that he gets to go back to sleep.
Once Brian leaves the bedroom, Graham then starts his normal “avoid sleep at all cost” routine in which he starts to ask me all of life’s wondrous questions like…”Mommy, where is the sun? (It’s not up Graham, because it’s three o-clock in the morning…it’s still night, night-time.) and “Mommy, what’s that noise?” (That’s your Daddy on the couch snoring away Graham.) and “Mommy, I like chocolate milk…do you like chocolate milk…why is chocolate milk brown?” (Because it’s made with chocolate Graham.) and “Mommy, can I have the red cereal (Fruity Pebbles) with chocolate milk for breakfast? (Sure Graham.), “Okay Mommy…well, when are you going to make me breakfast?” (When the sun comes up…it’s still bedtime Graham…go to sleep!) Again, you get the picture.
After our question and answer session, he then proceeds to touch my face as he traces over every one of my facial features, “This is Mommy’s nose, these are Mommy’s eyes, these are Mommy’s ears…” And normally he starts to fade just as the sun is beginning its rise over the horizon. However this morning, after all of his normal rituals, he grabbed his puppy dog, snake, and blanket, and jumped out of bed. When I asked him where he was going, he said “I’m going to sleep on the couch with Daddy.”
Oh happy day! I smiled and yelled to Brian, “He’s coming for you!” A disoriented Brian wakes with a start in the living room, and says, “Huh??” Then I chuckled and fell face-first into the bed. I looked at the clock…it was 4:15 am. I pulled the covers over my head and fade fast…the exhaustion finally hitting me like a freight train. I start to re-enter my blissful “Field of Pools” dream world (a unique and strange ability, I can sometimes choose what I want to dream about…believe it or not), until Brian’s voice rips me out of my sun-bathing relaxation once again. I sit up, “What’s wrong?” Brian says, “He just kicked me off the couch.” I tell Brian to put fluffy pillows around Graham so he can’t roll off the couch and get hurt.
I know we only have barely two hours until our oldest wakes up (he has an internal alarm clock that naturally goes off at 6:00 am). Brian gets into bed, I sigh deeply, and then FINALLY fall into a deep sleep…until…
For the third time that night, I am kidnapped from my dream for the last time. Fully disoriented and exhausted we both shoot straight up in bed listening…then the sound all parents dread…the earsplitting sound of vomiting pours out of the monitor’s speaker. “He’s puking,” Brian says, and he jumps out of bed and runs upstairs. I jump out of bed, try to run out of the bedroom, and smack my knee on the bedpost. Jumping up and down in pain, I hunch over and start feeling around for my glasses. Blind as a bat, I can’t see them, but I vaguely remembered where I had laid them last. Finally, I find them, push them on my face and run up the stairs.
Poor Laythan had vomited everywhere. He looked pale as a sheet, and he was shaking like a leaf. I scooped up my sick baby and took him into the bathroom as Brian started to strip the sheets off the bed. Now Brian and I are not the parents that do well with smells. To be honest, we are the parents that will hold our kids while they vomit as we dry-heave along with them…the smell was profuse, so I tried to breathe through my mouth as I held Laythan by the toilet.
The third time hit so quickly that I didn’t have time to prepare. I unsuccessfully rushed to catch the vomit in my hands, picked him up, and carried him to the toilet. I sat him down on the floor, and when he got done I ran my hand through my hair. When I pulled my hand away, it was covered in puke. I sighed and looked at Laythan. He stared at me curiously and I said, “Well Baby, you puked in Mommy’s hair.” He chuckled softly, “Oops,” he said with a smile. Brian and I laughed. I kissed Laythan on the head and said, “That’s okay, let’s get you back to bed.” I threw my hair in a quick braid so that it would be out-of-the-way for the next round that would no doubt be coming soon.
And so for the next five hours…it’s was like Groundhog Day as we battled the evil stomach bug…vomit, wash child, change clothes, brush teeth, change bed sheets, get new trash bag, REPEAT…
FINALLY, when all has calmed down…my phone beeps…and my to do list reminder pops up. Oh, I had so much I needed to get done, but life had other plans for me today. I was just going to have to be flexible and adjust the rest of my week, because obviously my child comes first. But it got me thinking about life in general.
One of the best things about this blog is that it allows me to put out into the world all of the things that pop into my head when life happens. And today, while I laid in bed with our sick little boy cuddled in my arms, I thought to myself…our ability to be flexible and adjust to all of the things that life is going to throw at us is a key component to who we are as people and how successful we are in life.
Everyone ALWAYS says that it’s 10% the situation and 90% your reaction to the situation that makes the difference. However, I feel like that is only the first stage…it’s your ability to hang-on, adjust, and hang-in that is the real golden ticket. All of us have had things happen to us in life, and hopefully most of us have reacted well, but the fact is…once big things happen…you aren’t the same person. You change…the flexibility certain situations require makes you ADJUST your life for the REST of your LIFE. Some things happen in life that require you to establish a NEW NORMAL…and it takes immense strength to find out what that new normal might look like.
We all have this incredible amount of strength inside of us that many of us haven’t seen yet. It’s only when life really sticks it to us, that we truly see how courageous we are and what we are capable of overcoming. I had a plan today…a long to do list, but life flushed that right down the toilet (literally). And even as I sit here typing this and Laythan sleeps soundly upstairs, I have just realized that I still have vomit in my hair…but that’s kind of fitting too, isn’t it?
I have walked around with the remnants of my child’s sickness in my hair all day and haven’t cared…there were more important things to do. We walk around every day with the remnants of what life has dealt us. Everyone’s experience is difference, some people’s lives are harder than others…but we all have battles…and no matter our past…we try to stay strong, we react, we adjust…and then we forge on…because navigating life is simple, even though LIVING LIFE IS NOT! When life gets hard…you adjust course and map out the new version of what your life will look like…and I pray that after you adjust, your strength surprises you and you find that some things in the new version are sweeter than they ever were before.
Merry Monday Leisurelings!