When you first have children you kinda get used to walking around in a daily fog. We learn as parents to sleep in short spurts. Like dogs. Napping when we can, but always keen and alert.
Our babies wake us several times in the night for feedings, diaper changes and sometimes perhaps just to sit in the rocker by the night light – skin to skin, feeling our rhythmic breathing.
As they grow into toddlers their minds start to work in mysterious and sometimes frightening ways. They call out in the night for comfort. As good parents, we go to them, gently rubbing their back and soothing them back to nod. We trudge back to lie in bed… waiting – listening for awhile before sleep will take us for the split second before dawn.
As potty training progresses the middle of the night brings inevitable sheet changes. A now skilled parent can change a full set of sheets - including waterproof padding, wash and re-pj a child in record time.
Even as they begin to sprout, a nightmare can regress a 10 year old by years. Our bed becomes a haven of safety and rest... for them.
When they are sick – they need us to be by their bedsides.
When they reach their teens, they no longer come to us with bad dreams and upset tummies – but there is still the occasion to share an immanent break up or a spat with the bff... at midnight.
Then they drive.
And basically we just lie awake all night.
We then pay an enormous amount of money to an institution of higher learning if they will just let them sleep there.
For the first couple weeks we worry. We don’t sleep well. We hope they are adjusting, and happy and making friends and getting their homework done and changing their sheets (well ok…maybe that’s just me).
And then…. then… we may – just – sleep. Ah … sleep.
All night. Until morning.
We get used to sleep. Every day.
Until they come home on break.
And we learn that they have managed with great finesse and they are happy and well adjusted and made friends and got good grades and … and do this all between the hours of 10pm and dawn.