I feel like I never sleep anymore. Even if the baby is sleeping, someone wakes me up. My other children to a nightmare, my dog to go outside, or even my own rebellious bladder. I wake up to the turning of a doorknob, the cough inside a room. Even in sleep I am aware of the workings of the household.
This from a girl who lived in the Valley and slept through the ’94 earthquake! With a magnitude of 6.7, I had to be woken up to get out of the house. And not with a gentle hand and a “hey honey, get up,” but with two hands gripping my shoulders, and my sister yelling, “Get up! The house is falling down!”
This is how well I used to sleep. How could having children change this? Because having children changes everything.
Even though I took on too much responsibility in my youth (thanks to my nurturing personality 🤦♀️), it was still different when I became a parent. My worry carries a different weight now because death feels more real. My love is deeper as if part of my heart was plucked from my chest and placed into my children’s. My experience is more vivid because of the cycles of pain and joy that accompany parenthood. Consequently, the intensity of this relationship shines bright, even during the night.
I hope to one day get my sleep back, when the girls are out of the house, when their responsibilities are their own. But for now, I will relish in those gummy grins, kiss those fearful tears, and dream of a time when I will miss it.