by Andilyn Jenkins
I do not possess healthy sleeping habits. And I would love to take a moment and blame that on my parents, who taught by example. We always pull through, which is a virtue, but at the sacrifice of a precious gift many people fail to value—myself included. Some claim the title "night owl" which I've discovered to be an acceptable euphemism for I-stayed-up-so-ridiculously-late-working-on-the-stuff-I-didn't/couldn't-do-during-the-day-that-now-I-physically-can't-get-out-of-bed. In high school, my French class (first hour), lunch, and sometimes choir (fifth hour) were the times I would inevitably crash. Now it's after I give the kids breakfast and when I turn cartoons on for them around three or four in the afternoon. In college, when Aaron wanted to propose, he came to pick me up an hour before I had to be at play practice, and I was napping on my couch. I begged him, "I'm so tired. Just, snuggle with me for a minute. I just want to sleep. Please...? No, Aaron, don't make me get up. I'm so tired." It took him a good fifteen minutes to convince me that we really needed to get going. Of course I had no idea why and pretty much thought he was the spawn of Satan for making me unwrap myself from my warm blanket burrito to go outside in December in Rexburg, Idaho. But once I did, I realized what Aaron had in store more than made up for pulling me out of my coma. Boy, am I glad I woke up.
And the thing is, I never wake up from a nap and think, "Man, I wish I had just slept through my entire day. Waking up is such a waste." In fact, I usually reprimand myself for falling asleep and end up feeling guilty for neglecting the kids and letting them have too much screen time. Or for not doing my chores or failing to make the complicated dinner I had planned and was excited about trying. And then I'm rested. So when bedtime comes for Aaron, I think, "Well, I took a nap today. I'll just finish these dishes, start the laundry, paint my nails, write my blog post, solve world hunger, and then skip off to bed." And the cycle continues. And on the rare occasion I go to bed before midnight, I can't fall asleep. So my motivation to develop that healthy habit skips off to my neighbor's house where it encourages her to make hot breakfast for her family before driving them to school.
So here I am. 1:23 a.m. on the very last day of 2014, wishing I had done that puzzle with my daughter today (technically yesterday), but also sooo satisfied that I made fondant centers for homemade chocolates and danced in my kitchen for an hour while I waited for the candies to cool. But the reality is, making that candy was challenging and fulfilling, but I could have started it earlier. Dancing to "All About That Bass" with my new noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones was fun but it could have been a treasured memory if music blasted through the house while I had a dance party with the kids. And my quiet time is rare and coveted but so are the fleeting faces of my four- and one-year-old.
So goodnight. I can't afford to miss out on any more proposals. Consider this my New Year's Resolution: Sundays through Thursdays, I will go to bed before 11:30. That gives me 8 hours of sleep on a normal/good day for my kids. Because this year, I don't want to hear a whiny, "No, Mommy, please don't fall asleep." This year, I'm going to be awake.