One Mom’s Epiphany

13 Jul

I have been having a hard time lately. I have been angry and tearful for no reason.

I have learned over time that -as far as my own case goes- my bouts of depression come when I am under great stress or when for any given reason I start losing sleep. And I’ve had a whole lot of losing sleep lately. My son is not sleeping well and neither am I. 

You see, I have made some changes around the house and my son’s room has been included in those changes. I try to make things special for him as much as possible and decided to catalogue his books and organize them in a simple way for him to be aware of how important it is for him to care for and enjoy his books. I already did the “cataloguing”. But I also changed his bed to another area after doing some heavy-duty cleaning in his room (I had no idea the amount of strange stuff that can get accumulated in a little boy’s bedroom besides hairballs from our two cats). Well, for whatever reasons -it’s also summer and the young guy has no routine whatsoever- he has started to wake up in the middle of the night; once, sometimes twice a night. He comes in our bedroom, wakes me up -startles me, actually, pretty bad- and then I have to escort him back to his own room, tuck him in again, and stay with him till he falls asleep again. Only to have him wake up and start the same thing all over again one or two hours later. So I find myself having the nightly routine of a newborn’s mom with a boy of six.

It has come to a point where I just can’t fall asleep because I just KNOW he’ll be opening our door and startling me awake. This has been going on for almost a whole week. You can count on the fact that we have done everything imaginable to get him to just turn around and find sleep again in his own bed. We have had all the conversations about the dark, and monsters, and how safe he is in his own room. We have explained how happy and lucky he should be that he has his own room with all his toys and his books and a place to sit down and read while we were short for space and stuff when we were his age… well, you get the picture: from soothing and caring to plain old guilt, we have tried everything.

But last night I think I had some sort of epiphany. As I lay in bed fully awake waiting for him to open my door -around 3:30 a.m.- I thought: I will fight this no longer. My son is just five. He turns 6 in August and will star 1st grade in September. This is summer, he’s on vacation and I’m just being an uptight bitch about this. No more fighting, no more coaxing, no more scolding. When I was his age I was just as scared as he was and I just wanted to have my Mom and my Dad close to me during the night. I still feel aweful about the hard time I gave my mom back then. Because I’m a Mom and love mine, I understand how difficult it must have been for her to spend the whole day toiling around the house, cooking and cleaning, washing and ironing clothes, and making all the extras that moms always have to do… and we were five kids at home. I only have one. If I dare to feel tired, I can only imagine how exhausted my poor Mom was back then.

The thing is, I can also understand how scary it was for me to find myself alone, in the dark, in my bedroom in the middle of the night. Even if my Mom always left the halway light on. I cannot judge her just as I can’t judge myself for not letting her sleep at night thirty years ago. Which means I will not judge my son either. I spend the day doing as much as I can and have the help of my husband, I can’t complain. I always find time -no matter at what time of day or night- to do my own stuff, that which gives me my individual, personal joy which is art. There is still more than enough time to get my son to his old routine of sleeping the whole night through. This is the summer, after all, and I will not let depression overpower me again just because my son needs to squeeze in bed with us. I know my Mom loved me just as much as I love my son, and still does. But that does not mean I have to be like her. I will follow my heart and let him in, even if it means giving him my place in bed and spending the rest of the night in his.

Last Summer in Austin

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One Response to “One Mom’s Epiphany”

  1. Karla Partin July 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    hang tight…. being a parent does and did not come with a handbook or manual… you have to make it up as you go!

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