In this darkened room, early on a Friday night, I am in bed with the lights off. I am allowed my laptop light, but cautioned that if I turn on the TV, it must be closed captions only. Yet it is only 8:30 and Mr. Pom and I have barely had a chance to breathe out a sigh of relief and catch up with each other. And the youngest is home for the evening, a rare event.
But Squishy is here, and sleeping overnight is a very rare event.
I'd like to report that his parents are going somewhere special, a concert, a dinner, or to a party.
But the truth is, they are just plain ole' 4-months exhausted and need one night, just one, to lay in bed and watch TV, and then shut the light early and know that they have no reason to get up until late morning.
I remember those days. I especially remember longing for the weekend, my body rhythm still in sync with a work week. And then Saturday would roll around and, guess what, I still had a two month old, or a two month old and 23-month old, or a 5 and 7 year old and an infant, and the weekend just meant the same.
I didn't live near my parents. I was at least 45 minutes away from my family. My parents worked as did my sisters, and if I wanted to go out or have an afternoon to myself, I paid the kid up the street.
Sometimes, though, I'd take some days off work and just go to my mom's for a few nights. I'd hand over the child or children, grab all my sisters' magazines, pull out the quilt I was handstitching, and set up my lair on the long blue couch, confident that the baby would be held, changed, played, with, walked around, and entertained all day. I often would get up in the morning and find my parents and sisters in my old room, standing around the portacrib like the Magi at the manger.
So how can I not do the same for my daughter?
I did laugh out loud when they told me I had to stay with him to put the pacifier back in his mouth should he wake up. Perhaps we did that for #1, and I know #2 was the worst child to put to sleep or to stay asleep on the face of the earth. But by #3, I'm certain that we tucked her into a crib, shut the light, turned on a monitor, and saw her in the morning.
It is a sacrifice, giving up this Friday night. I can't mindlessly surf reality shows. I can't get up and down for a cup of tea or a decaf cap. I can't fret over what I have to clean, buy, and cook for Thanksgiving and how am I going to fit it around a 3-day work week.
I have to sit in my bed in the dark, the only light this laptop. I have to turn on my electric blanket. I have to listen to the sweet, rhythm of my grandson's tiny breath in and out and his occasional loud suck on the binkie.
And I have to write to you to tell you I'd rather be here than anyplace else on earth.