I remember being a kid and after being tucked in for the night, I would wait quietly until I knew for sure no one was around. I would then silently creep out of bed and position myself at the top of the stairs, trying to hear and see what amazingly interesting things my parents were doing in the living room. I was certain they were throwing parties or talking about how wonderful of a child I was--all very real things we parents do right?! Sometimes, my big brother, Sean would join me, and we would sit there, in complete and utter silence, feeling so rebellious for being "up" past bedtime. For many seasons, the night used to be my parents time to plop down on the couch, popcorn and peanut M & M's in hand; Dad in his pullout chair and Mom curled up in the corner of the sectional. They would usually watch ER or Lois and Clark, nothing whatsoever that childhood Ashley had any interest in watching--but there was something magical to ME about them being up 'super late.' Which back then, was probably 9 pm.
I don't know what it is about the night, but there is something about it that I believe calls most moms [some dads?] Still to this day, my mom stays up WAY too late and I am often the one joking with her to go to bed!
But after us kids were down, that was always when she had a chance to just breathe. Not 100% by any means, because she would wash a million loads of laundry AND fold them. She would do all the dishes and start the dishwasher. She would (still does) have her quiet time with the Lord and read her devotions. Once we were all in bed, nighttime was when she could sit, at least for a few minutes.
As I write this, every single being in my household is sound asleep. The kids have been dozing peacefully in their beds for three hours, my husband is snoring, our cat Alfie is perched above my head on the couch, Manny is on my pillow, Sammy is on the chair across from me, and the dogs are on our bedroom floor. The heater is blowing warm air and the buzz of the fan is making me slightly sleepy, which is a plus because up until now I wasn't tired at all.
My son Pierson has asked me for several years, "Mom, why don't you go to bed when Reese and I do? Why do you stay up so late?" (and HE thinks I stay up just until 10 pm!) If I ever say during the day that I am tired he looks at me so seriously and says, "Then you shouldn't stay up so late, Mom."
Here it is, midnight, and I have a full work day ahead of me tomorrow. But if you're like me then you can relate to the gazillion things that are working themselves through your tired/not tired brain, and you get a crazy second wind the later it gets. There's a large part of me that dreams of being a morning person. Can anyone else relate to this? I wish so badly that when my alarm went off at 6:15 am for work, that I could actually get OUT OF BED at that time. Instead I hit snooze at least 300 times, and I am scrambling to jump up by 6:50, when I am supposed to be leaving twenty minutes later. Lord help me in the mornings. And my poor kids are permanently going to remember me as the parent who hates mornings. Nighttime though, I can DO that. I unfortunately am not as productive as my mother; washing, drying, and folding laundry, but sometimes it's nice just to sit in silence. To listen to the hum of the heater, to know that everyone around me is safe, warm, happy, and loved.
There's another reason that staying up late is just destined to happen, and moms, I KNOW you can relate to this one. Eight o'clock rolls around, the kids are in their own beds, teeth are brushed, faces are washed, comfy clean pajamas are on. And then Reese especially needs 2,300 hugs. And when I am trying to leave her room, she yells, "Mom! Wave!! Mom, wave! Wave, Mom!!" So then I wave. To my daughter who is in bed, whom I have hugged 2,300 times. And she tells me that I didn't wave RIGHT. And then once I got the wave down pact, I close the door. And I hear her scream, "MOM!" I open the door. "Love you, Mom." "I love you, Reese," and I close the door. "MOM!" I hear. Oh my good Lord have mercy and help me not to completely lose my lid. "Reese, what! You have to stop." "Wave, Mom."
From there I go to say goodnight to said son who wonders WHY I am up so late. At this point it's almost 8:30 pm (usually). He lifts his shirt for me to tickle his belly and I always climb in the bed next to him. We pray, I sing a song (It is Well EVERY single night), and tickle his belly. He'll either proceed to ask me a hundred questions, or I'll start to fall asleep, my fingers coming to a complete stop on the warmth of his tummy, startling back to life as he pokes me. "Mom, if you're tired, just go to bed. You don't have to stay up late."
Except I don't WANT to go to bed, Pierson Clive. I want a hot cup of tea, a scalding shower, to read a book, or write a blog post, or browse the Internet aimlessly, or take the dogs for the walk (yes, sometimes at 9 pm), cuddle with my husband, watch some TV shows, edit pictures, eat a snack, and the list goes ON my dear boy. I've been poked and prodded all day since 7 am. I've heard the name, "Mrs. Glass" at least 8, 742 times from my five and six-year old students. I've been hugged and sat on, high-fived, sometimes pushed or glared at, occasionally threatened and DEFINITELY have had my literal bubble popped at multiple points in the day. Most of those things are such a blessing, not at all bad and I am thankful for my roles. But I've been teacher for seven hours, mom for twenty-four, and sweet son of mine, sometimes I just need to BE.
Here we are, much past ten o'clock, and my eyes are finally feeling heavy. And look at that! Blog post written, thoughts sorted, and sweet memories of my childhood relived.