It’s 7 PM and both of my babies are asleep. And I’m terrified of what’s to come.
Mike is traveling- his work takes him all over the country and sometimes out of it. This week he’s in Portland, then Seattle, then L.A. I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard to even remember where he is. Or where he’s going next. Maybe I don’t want to remember. His work provides for our beautiful life. It’s really hard for him to be away from us. But oh em gee, it is hard for me too.
It’s actually easier now than it’s ever been. Gray is three and Logan will be two in January. On a given night, at least one of them will sleep well (never both, but I’m not greedy). They can communicate better what their needs are, so I’m not grasping at straws to figure out what’s wrong at all times. And they are a little more flexible now. I can stretch their naps sometimes to fit our schedule, or just get up super-early to accommodate one of them while the other sleeps. It’s not as traumatizing as it once was.
I look back at the “two under two” days where Mike had to leave town, and I’m in awe of my former self, managing multiple nights in a row on my own. Logan coslept for 19 months so when Mike would travel, once Gray was in a big boy bed, my nights would be spent running back and forth between beds, terrified that Logan would fall out of the DockaTot and roll out of my bed onto the wood floor before I could get to him, or that their middle of the night cries would wake one another up. Even when they slept, I couldn’t, just knowing and feeling that full responsibility. I remember one night vividly of finally giving up and taking both boys downstairs around 3 AM, defeated and exhausted and anxious as all hell, knowing the impossibility of them both falling back asleep. As we cuddled in a sleepy pile on the couch, I let a few tears fall down my cheeks, terrified of what the next day would bring. Aside from my wonderful parents visiting during the day, I was totally on my own. And with kids that don’t sleep, that’s so hard.
The reason I’m afraid right now is that Gray fell asleep at 5 PM. His normal bedtime is 8:30/9:00. I let him sleep because if there’s one thing I’ve learned as their mother it’s to let them sleep when I have the option to. So now it’s 7:00 and I know what’s likely to come. It’s going to be a shitshow. Loud and messy. Given my tiredness today, even messier.
But I look over at my three year old, sleeping soundly on the couch next to me with only the light from a candle flickering nearby showing me the structure of his beautiful face. My first child. His chest rising and falling. His body, getting longer every day these days, it seems. He takes up half the couch now. He told me today he thinks it’s time for us to turn his carseat around. Said “I’m a big boy now Mom, I think I’ll be more comfortable.” He is growing up, right on time, yet way too soon. So I can’t wish the hard parts away. I have to embrace. I choose to embrace.
I know that the demands will not be so grueling one day. I know I’ll join Mike on work trips again. I know I’ll spend some of the times he travels catching up on my books and TV shows as my boys sleep soundly.
And I know with all my heart that I’ll miss this. The hard nights. The days like yesterday where they slept in their car seats and I just drove around aimlessly for hours. The way I can shift their moods by showing them a butterfly, or drawing something with them, or offering up a spontaneous activity.
So I am going to nap on the couch with Gray while I can, at 7 PM. I don’t know what tonight will bring, but I know we’ll get through it.