I hate being woken up. Remember this when you have children of your own and desperately need more sleep. Remember this when your own toddler wakes up just as the sun starts to rise, and when your own infant stirs awake in the dark and moans in that way that you know means “I am wet, please change me before I shatter your ear drums, and then play with me. And by the way.. In case you were wondering.. you will never sleep again”.
This is not meant to convey the sentiment of “I wish this upon you so that you will suffer as you have made me suffer.”
Rather, it is an explanation of something you will likely remember.
Mornings are one of those times that I completely light up when I see you and greet you like I haven’t seen you for days. When I say “Hi! Good morning!” in a cheerful voice and my eyes crinkle with happiness at seeing you. The times where I pull you close and give you the biggest sloppiest kiss ever right in the middle of your forehead. When I proclaim that I love you to pieces.
I am NOT a morning person. Mornings should start in the afternoon. Twelve consecutive hours of sleep would be the height of lovely.
This is why I smile, why I examine your face and your eyes and your crazy bed-hair. This is why I laugh, and tackle you to the bed for hugs. Because I dislike mornings SO much that when the first of you was small, I was miserable at being woken. I held a small baby that would not sleep, and I cried. Through my tears I saw dark blue eyes looking up at me and I started apologizing. “I love you SO much, I’m just SO tired.” I whispered. “I’m so sorry.” And I pulled that baby close and buried my tear stained face in his hair so that he would not see me cry.
When you’re so tired that being woken makes you miserable, kiss your child’s head. Breathe deep even if baby hair tickles your nose. Kiss small feet, examine small hands. Look deep into the cross-eyes of your newborn child. Say “I love you”, and feel it with every ounce of your soul.
Love bubbles up, as poignant as letdown. It pushes the sadness, the sleepy, the grouchy, and unhappy away. It crashes through the many reasons that I just want to BE ASLEEP and it lets me surrender to the start of my day with happiness rather than with misery.
Slowly this love smooths out all the roughness of parenthood. It soothes the pain of labor, it eases the worries of day to day life, it brightens the sunny days and it converts the rainy ones into puddle splashing fun. It helps with after-birth contractions and with gritting my teeth through early-baby chompy latching-on. It gives me the grace to handle tantrums with patience. And it reminds me that when you are upset, you are upset not “difficult”.
So when you wake up way too early one day because a small child of your own desperately needs your attention, and you think back to these days and wonder why you didn’t inherit the trait of loving mornings..
Remember. I didn’t love mornings. I loved you.
Make the choice joy.