Night Crawlers

This is a story based on our experiences of getting our little ones to sleep… neither of them slept through the night for 13 months, and so sleep was a precious commodity in our house for about 3 years.

With pacies and bottles and blankies at feet,
The challenging task is long since complete
Of getting our daughter to stay in her bed,
A process that’s much harder done than is said.

But now that at least a half hour has past,
We’re proud that our efforts are certain to last.
The time-buffer’s gone, we’ve nothing to fear
We mutually agree that the coast must be clear.

So into her bedroom the two of us sneak
One sweet sleeping baby – two parents’ proud peek.
Then all of a sudden, a jerk and a shrill
At which we instinctively both stand quite still.

Does she see us? Just how could we know,
Both of us blind amid the night-light’s dim glow?
If so, it’s clear to her Mom and to me
That the night grows much longer for all of us three.

With us in mid-step, one more stir, one more peep…
Our fear has come true – she’s no longer asleep.
And once that she knows that we’re walking about,
It’s for certain that she will break out in a shout.

Quick, hit the deck! We both drop to the floor…
Our cover is blown if we move an inch more!
This mission’s been upgraded – now a true covert-op.
We’re locked in position ‘til she comes to a stop.

Peering (and giggling) through each other’s eyes
We savor the moment and treasure soft sighs.
The goal of our efforts is perfectly clear –
To establish sweet silence as all that we hear.

I in my night shirt and Mom in her gown
Stay perfectly still ‘til she’s all settled down.
And then like two cats – sly, stealthy and sleek –
Off toward the door we cleverly creep.

Shhh…not a sound…we’ve come much too far –
No knocking or squeaking as the door’s pulled ajar.
Then out to the hall with her door now shut tight
We tip-toe away to ensure a good night.

Survivors, creators, we do what it takes
To protect and preserve our respites and breaks.
While having a baby is simply the best,
A close second is therefore a well-deserved rest.

The End

Empty Nesters

The laundry’s caught up.  The fridge seems bare.  There’s an unusual hush around the house.  

It all seems a little bit odd, disorienting, and exciting at the same time. 

Yes, I said exciting…  

It may seem callous (or even sacrilegious) in today’s society to suggest that excitement should fill some of the newly-vacated space of an empty nest, but deep down it’s present in every parent’s heart, and we’re far from the exception. 

The girls are 15 months (and one school year) apart, so each step along the way has been akin to a one-two punch.  Just as we’ve wrapped our heads around one hitting a certain milestone, the next thing we know the other has passed it, too.  Yet, our concerted resolve along the way has been to embrace each age, each year, each milestone, neither wishing the years away nor attempting to stop the clock from ticking ever forward.  We’ve always embraced each step, each age, and each moment in their lives with enthusiasm and gratitude.  Such was the case as we conducted back-to-back college drop off’s this year, and nary a tear was shed.

As we packed up supplies and clothes and pillows and shoes and toiletries and whatever else it seemed we could fit into every last nook and corner of the SUV, we reflected on how we’ve spent the last 18 (plus 1) years instilling all the wisdom, values, lessons, and confidence we could muster into these two young ladies, hoping and praying that we did a good enough job to ensure their happiness, safety and good decision making as they begin this pivotal next chapter in their lives.  

And what exciting chapters they are…for all of us!   The “core four,” as we once coined ourselves along the way, are now nicely spread out across the southern US, each of us individually and collectively trying to sort out the current and future state of affairs in our lives.  

How might we fill the obvious void?  What doors might open now that others have shut?  What yin will come with the yang?

Exciting times, indeed, filled with the certainty of new experiences, new friendships, and new responsibilities.  Life blossoms and unfolds, and we have the blessing of togetherness in our hearts –  if not in our house – to share and enjoy the adventures that lie ahead for each of us. 

After the long journey back home from the second of the two drop-off’s, amid the spin of relocation and the stir of uncertainty, a grounding reminder of our connectedness rang out in the techy-est of ways as we nestled back into our nest – just the two of us.

That familiar, customized text ringtone sounded from Mama’s nearby-phone…the ping from beyond that we’d not-so-secretly been waiting for since we hugged goodbye oh so many hours ago.  We’d resisted reaching out ourselves, holding back, letting them find their freedom without the weight of an anchoring, helicoptering parent.  

But our seeds were now sown, and the moment of truth had arrived in the form of a text.  

How much were we missed?   Had homesickness set in this early on?  What sage advice were they seeking as the reality of their separation and independence sank in?

It all was answered for us in a simple, single, brief, but effective text:

“Mama…could you put more money in my account?”

Alas, let the excitement begin!