a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why am I still awake?

Usually when Evie has a rough week (which happens every month and a half or so) somewhere along the way, bleary-eyed and exhausted I am struck with a panic-tinged thought: What if this doesn't go away?!? What if she decides to keep this up??? So far, this fear has been unwarranted. Mercifully, if I'm patient and listen to her cues she settles back into her regular routine. I am supremely grateful for this, because handling handling her on my own if "bad week" mode was the norm would be not a lot of fun.

This past week she hasn't been napping much during the day and has woken during the night (I thought we were past that, Evie!!). Of course the timing coincided with my super-hooah motivated plan to wake BEFORE she wakes to work out and exercise. I had only managed this maybe once or twice before Bad Week hit, and thus haven't managed again--until this morning.

I can't tell you what a huge difference it makes for my outlook on the day when I start it off right. Even if the rest of the day is kinda bumpy (as was today), I'm able to take it in stride because AT LEAST I got in my workout. I feel more energized and productive first thing, and it spills over into everything else for the day. On the other hand, if I start off poorly--groggy, waking to a cranky Evie who won't go back to bed, we spend half of the morning in pjs, dragging ourselves around doing the routines: eating, playing, and pleading for sleep so that I can go take a nap as well. On those days, the first opportunity I have for myself isn't spent doing homework or working out or cleaning or taking care of online business--it's going back to sleep, which means I'll wake again when she does, usually still feeling exhausted, only then feeling guilty and unproductive on top of that.

It's a paradox that when I'm tired, usually the answer isn't going back to sleep, but pushing a little harder. Very often my lethargy comes from being lethargic. (This isn't always the case--sometimes I REALLY do just need a nap.) I've been enjoying a photography book, A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart and came across this passage in the introduction by one of the author/photographers, Stephanie Congdon Barnes:

What I love about mornings is the sense of possibility. I often lay in bed
at night, the weight of what's been left undone on top of me like a lead
blanket, but I awaken to find that I've thrown that blanket aside. The night has
erased my failures, my inadequacies, my mistakes. Today will be the day. My
mornings are not idyllic. As a mother (my daughter and son were seven and five
at the time of this project), my actions are dictated by the needs of others as
soon as I awake. There are breakfasts to be made, lunches to be packed, lost
shoes to be found, tangles to be tamed, schedules to be coordinated with my
husband. But still, in all these actions, these endless repetetive preparations
(of which I am quite ofen resentful), there is that sense of possibility. We all
have morning rituals that give us the comfort of familiarity even if our days
are unknowns. My son spilling his milk in the same spot every day is both
aggravation and inspiration. That spot says here we are again; we're going to
try to have a good day.

That passage just really spoke to me when I first read it and has been a friendly little encouraging voice, urging me to try and start each day right. I feel the exact same way about mornings and night and the contrasting sense of a morning's endless possibility vs. the evening's burden of things left undone. Lately I've been staying up way too late (like now) because it is so often the only time I have for myself for uninterrupted pursuits. It's so hard to cut that short and go to bed, but I know that I'm just making it more difficult on myself tomorrow.

Okay, really...off to bed with me.


Write Softly said...

I'm being only slightly melodramatic when I say ... your bad week has described my last 14 months. :)

More to come in an e-mail to you that I've been working on.

screamy mimi said...

Dude--I know! I always feel guilty complaining even a little about when Evie doesn't sleep well. I know how good I have it. My heart goes out to you and your anti-sleeper. Looking forward to the e-mail!

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