I unrolled our new self-inflating camping pad and laid it out on the living room floor for my daughter to try. The bright lime green against our light pastel rug made it an inviting bed. She blew up the attached pillow and cozied up, a lazy haze settling over her deep blue eyes.
“I’m excited to go camping this weekend, mom!”
I chuckled to myself. Just moments before she’d complained to me about camping. Will our tent be big enough (it’s new and we haven’t put it up yet)? Will it rain? Will our neighbors be loud? Will there be fun things to do? Her sharp, inquisitive mind was considering every angle.
I left the room with a smirk. The house was suddenly very, very silent. I grabbed her colorful sleeping bag with a big cartoon character on it that I didn’t know existed until a friend gave us the sleeping bag. I thought of the bazillion times my daughter tried to explain who Lizzie was and how it went through my brain like a light fog. Perhaps because she always told me about Lizzie before bed, when my brain was only half with her — while the other half was making a to-do list of work I had to catch up on after she fell asleep.
I walked back in with the sleeping bag and noticed her daydreamy look as she gazed towards the ceiling. She looked comfortable even if the flat camping pad didn’t look comfortable from across the room.
When I offered to set up her sleeping bag she scooted over and then decided to give up on her open-eyed nap, going back to a craft project she’d been working on.
“Maybe I’ll give this a try,” I said, half expecting to find a hard floor and an awkward, squishy pillow underneath my body. Instead, I found a mom version of heaven.
My whole body felt like it was receiving a hug in every cell.
“I think this is a magic camping pad,” I quietly said to my daughter.
I could barely speak. My eyes gazed out at the leaves and sky peeking through the bay window above me. I suddenly felt very small and very, very content about my smallness.
After a few moments, my body silently screamed:
I could have fallen asleep there.
But I couldn’t close my eyes. I didn’t have the right to. My daughter’s sweet voice pulled me out of my trance.
When’s dinner, mom?
She was hungry. The cat walked over and meowed. She was hungry too.
I’m tired rang through me again, caressing my mind with a sense of familiarity. It sounded like that overplayed radio song. That song you hear all the time but don’t know any of the words to. That song you finger dance to at first, thinking, Ain’t this a catchy tune — but turn off when you realize you really can’t stand it.
It’s your love-hate song.
I’m tired was my mom love-hate song.
The thought that motivated me to rise up from that heavenly camping pad was, “I’ll get to relax on that pad when we camp in five days. It’s coming soon. So soon I can taste it.”
I shut the I’m tired song off. My mom self is good at turning I’m tired off.
I’ll nap someday, I laugh to myself as I headed to the kitchen.
I turned on my,“Get it done” music and got the kid, cat, and myself fed. I got in some playtime with my daughter. I even washed all the dishes while she got ready for bed. I listened to her tell me a story she made up as I rubbed her feet until her mouth was too tired to move. Looking at my sweet daughter’s sleeping face, I took a big breath: I felt like a superheroine.
I got it done. And then some.
I’m tired rolled through me again — but I remembered the work I had to catch-up on.
Not now. Enough of that song.
I changed the station again.
I looked lovingly at my sleeping child.
Maybe I can nap when she’s in college, I thought, as I walked out of the room and sat down on the couch.
I opened up my laptop; suddenly I wasn’t tired anymore.
(Fast forward an hour later and me falling asleep mid-type. I gently tug myself off of the couch and roll into my bed, passing out before the thought, I’m tired even had a chance to enter my brain.)
Moms and dads get tired. Really, really tired. Our job is 24/7 with no paid vacation or sick time.
Someday we can rest just might be the mantra we all use to carry through in those exhausting moments.
Someday we can rest is the carrot we dangle in front of our sleepy eyes. Carrots are good for your eyes after all, aren’t they?
Because it’s true, isn’t it: someday we can rest?
Yes, mom. Yes, dad. Someday we can rest.
But right now, we have to get it done.
And don’t you worry, I’ll be right here, getting it done right beside you.
Mom and dad, you got this.
Tired eye wink from my heavy eye-lid to yours.
This post was previously published on Writer Mom and is republished here with permission from the author.
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