6:55 a.m. – We’re crawling into bed.
After the second round of delirious laughter I gave up. I knew my husband would be able to actually go to sleep for fifteen minutes. I knew I would not. I knew the kids would be storming down the hall in precisely four minutes now.
Besides when the baby woke up at 4:30 this morning, fraught with mucus and furry, I had already had eight and a half hours of sleep. See the night before I had also passed the sleeping hours holding a sick baby- not sleeping. By last night I was so exhausted that I fell asleep talking to my husband sometime between seven and eight o’clock. He must have put everyone to bed without me. I apparently did feel the need to don pajamas when I migrated to my own bed. Perhaps I subconsciously suspected I wouldn’t be there long.
I couldn’t find the snot sucker thing. The kids think it’s a toy. Everyone thinks it’s a toy! Why aren’t bulb syringes (in case you wanted to know their real name) sold in the toy aisle. I couldn’t find anything. My house is a maze… or a minefield. No burglar would ever make it through my house. Ever. After an hour of failing to get my daughter back to sleep my husband joined the cause.
And we talked.
I’ve been trying to fight with my husband for at least two days now. I could feel a big ugly one bubbling up inside. God in his mercy diverted me with an impossibly busy schedule and then yesterday right as I was about to unlock the floodgate my phone went dead… and the car charger refused to work. In fact by the time I found a charger and actually got my battery signal to flash more than “1%. Critically Low Battery” I was too busy to go back and unlock the floodgate. Now, I had slept enough to wonder if everything I was thinking yesterday was real.
Turns out it wasn’t. One of the unfortunate side effects of sleep deprivation, in me, is I create realities that don’t exist. This morning was a very merciful reminder not to fight tired. One of my children gets very tired and when they do the world falls apart. Their legs are broken, their bed has nails… tears of delirium spill over as they lament of life (I’m not joking. This is what happens every time he stays up past about nine.) It may sound crazy but it’s me without my adult justifications. We’ve started singing a little song in our house…
When you’re tired,
what you feel,
well it isn’t,
What’s real is my husband loves me. What’s real is our life takes faith. What’s real is that I needed to hear him say that it is okay that we’re both really tired. It didn’t feel okay. It felt like failure. It always feels like failure. Weariness feels like failure. Messes feel like failure. The process feels like failure. I asked him this morning “Why didn’t we space the kids out more? Wouldn’t it have made more sense?”
I daydreamed for a moment that I was lying in my bed with no toddler and a newborn in my arms. A very different reality. We would likely be a lot less tired. There would likely be a lot less messes. My fifth child would still be two years off. But then our upcoming trip to Haiti flashed before my eyes. The passports, the starting line of something new. And I realize we wouldn’t be there. Our family wouldn’t be ready yet- we would still be in that holding pattern.
Sometimes I doubt the way God chooses to do things. In the moment, in the furnace, it seems like there must be a better way. An easier way. But is walking around a mountain range really “easier” than passing over it? Sure there’s less resistance but it also takes a lot more time. And… the view isn’t as good.
So this morning I remembered.
There’s grace for having a large family. There is grace for having kids close in age. There is grace to obey the convictions I have. There is not grace to doubt God and there is not grace to take myself too seriously. Nothing zaps me of strength and joy faster. When I can laugh at the fact that sleep deprivation affects performance and I’m just not going to be as effective on three hours of sleep as I am eight then that weight of failure is broken. I’m able to accept where I am, and where my life, my kids, my husband are, and from that place I can look up and trust God to fill in whatever really needs to be filled in. It doesn’t mean it won’t still be crazy hard. It will just mean it won’t be impossible… and I might be able to enjoy it.
(Big Brother reading to sister and cooking breakfast with the little Big Guy. These are moments I was able to enjoy this morning)