Sunday, September 19, 2010


After stopping in at the Farmer's Market before going to work on Saturday, my eyes travelled over to the community garden. Standing tall with heads bent were several sunflowers. As I walked among them I began to feel as if they were slumbering giants, towering over the flowers and vegetables. I was sure that if I gently nudged them the would awaken. Each seemed to have a different personality: One was an older, bumbling man with a gray mustache who had dozed off on his watch. He didn't even know how loud he was snoring. The other was a tall, willowy woman a bit past her prime, who believed in getting her beauty rest above all else. And then there were the twins pictured here. Awkward, gangly boys who catnapped every spare moment possible in order to offset their rapidly growing bodies. Once asleep their lanky frames falling away from each other as if they had spent too much time in close quarters before they were born; now they needed to take advantage of the space available to them. Teens I find take up a lot of space; though they can occasionally be so helpful, as if to make up for their periods of angst and moodiness. When asked they can rake leaves, walk dogs, or help put the garden to bed. For with Fall upon us, it won't belong before the snow falls and blankets the earth. Flowers, trees and shrubs can stay fast asleep until the spring awakening.

Like most parents, I get too little sleep. Take last night: T is sick and called for me around midnight. He needed a bathroom escort, a glass of juice, another dose of ibuprofen, warm reassurance that illness passes, that no one is sick forever. Which I supplied wholeheartedly with no whisper of falsehood. He knows about sickness that never goes away; in kindergarten his best friend was found to have type I diabetes. His dad has had the storm cloud of type II over his head for the past couple years. But he is eight and cautious and needs no encouragement to fear that which we cannot control, especially not in the tiny hours. After T and I did all we could to appease the gods of nighttime fever we tried to drift off in the big bed, but M is sick, too, which makes his nose loud, so we tried the loft which worked for an hour or so until B cried heartily because he couldn't find me in the big bed, where he'd wandered from his little bed right next door. So I moved again. And was awoken at 5:30 by B who had to pee. Nights are generally more solid now that nobody is breastfeeding. Waking every hour is a thing of the past. And while I'd never wish to return to that level of sleeplessness, there's something about it I miss. The subsequent haze that persisted even after three cups of coffee; the way I never had to worry about insomnia; the intimacy of being the only two (or three) people awake in the entire world. But mostly I prefer the sense of completion I feel when I go to bed these days. I read a few pages, flip to my stomach, stretch my right arm along my side and revel in the idea that I don't have to be on until morning. Usually. Unless sick, lonely boys need me.


  1. I love that your boys know you'll be there...sleepy or not.

  2. That's parenting in a nutshell - at least at this age...