lately, I have been more than willing to sacrifice sleep for free time. I crave hours where nothing is required of me, when the house is still and dark. I lay on the couch and contemplate. I am seduced by the possibility of the night. the books I might read, the projects I might work on. more often than not, I end up on the living room floor in the middle of an impossible mountain of laundry, folding and folding while watching bad television. and then all of the sudden it is the middle of the night, and I am hunched over the glowing screen of my lovely computer, reading and clicking and writing. and then, it is no longer the middle of the night but THE NEXT DAY and I have only a couple of hours to fit in a whole nights' sleep. I run and jump into bed, pull the sheets up over my wired self and shut my eyes quickly, as if I've been caught and immediately need to feign deep sleep.
I know this is wrong, it is not good, it has to stop. my children should have the best part of who I am each day. oh sure, I can fake my way through but I know that I'm eventually headed for a private meltdown. I can feel the exhaustion deep in the sockets of my eyes, in the depths of my joints. ava and ezra deserve more than this. and truly, I want to give it to them. the best of who I am is a happy and loving mother, a goofy, creative mother, an ALERT mother, one that is not the grouchiest, most delirious mommy EVER, one that posesses the amount of coherence required to assemble a simple puzzle, one that will not nod off mid-sentence, one that does not have the 'crazy eyes'.
the trouble is, I have always been a night owl. I think I was in junior high when my parents finally gave up trying to get me to go to bed at a sensible hour. they found me huddled under my blue satin bedspread with a book and a flashlight too many times to count and so they just gave up. this night owl-ness has always been a big part of who I am and then I married a night owl and we so loved being night owls together. and then we had babies and for the first time, someone, something was FORCING us into night owl-dom and we wept for the days (and nights) when we could sleep freely. oh sleep, beautiful sleep. it's so good. why hadn't we slept more? we could not understand why we did not choose to sleep for all the hours of our pre-children nights (if only in preparation for the relentless sleeplessness that only babies can bring).
now, I have come full circle. ava and ezra are sleeping well these days and so now I can sleep, too (in my own bed, through the night) and all I want to do is stay up. I want to stay up and make things, write, read, lay on the couch with ward and laugh and make jokes that don't make any sense and pretend that I don't have to be up at what feels like the very crack of dawn. last night (well, this morning), I was ever so innocently catching up on my email when I happened to glance up at the clock. I was horrified, HORRIFIED to see that it read 5:49 a.m. I would have to be up in less than an hour! what was wrong with me? was there even time to sleep? all these thoughts racing through my head as I tried to grab the tiniest, most pathetic shred of sleep. tonight, I will surely crash. and this week, I will surely succumb to the decent sleep routine of a normal person. I will catch up on the zzz's and feel good again. but I'm a little too much like a junkie (I need my night time fix, MAN) and it will soon be time for more night owl-like activities. I will find myself deep in project mode at 3 a.m. and will make more promises to the part of me who wants to be the best mother, to the body that is begging me for sleep. I will negotiate with myself until I see the pink light of morning outside my window.