Just a few more sleeps ...
When our children were younger, we used the phrase “just a few more sleeps” to count down the number of days to whatever was coming. Whether it was a planned vacation, an anticipated sleep-over, or Christmas Day, saying “just ____ more sleeps” would usually satisfy the inevitable question of “when are we going” or “how many more days”. In just a few more sleeps, our youngest daughter will be getting married. She is the last to leave our nest and just like any other parent who has gone down this path, it is a nest full of all kinds of emotions.
We became parents on December 12, 1986. So for almost 30 years, our home has been inhabited with children. For 30 years, we have had experiences of being woken in the middle of the night to a crying baby, a sick toddler, a scared child, a wayward teenager, a young adult. As a mom, it’s what I know.
In just a few more sleeps, our home will be quiet with just the memories of such moments that have become such a part of our lives. In just a few more sleeps, our nights will no longer be interrupted with middle-of-the-night moments from children. In just a few more sleeps, our nest will be empty. It’s what we know.
Just a few more sleeps. Until then ... sleep well, little bird.
Did Someone Call Me Mom?
I can’t mom today. I just can’t. Instead, I’m going to head to the pool with a beach towel, a bottle of coconut scented tanning lotion (no SPF), a sappy fictional book, and a bag of cheetos. I’m going to spread my towel on the sun-baked pool deck at the farthest spot possible, slather the lotion on, and then jump feet first into the cold water, exhaling and sinking to the bottom of the pool. I’m going to stay under the water as long as my lungs will allow and then I will push myself to the surface, face first as I greet the summer sun. I will climb out of the pool and find my solitary spot on the pool deck and lay face down as I soak in the warmth of the cement and as I let the sun beat down on my back. I might close my eyes for just a few moments (or longer) while a game of Marco Polo is played nearby. And just when I think I can’t stand the heat any longer, I will repeat the process of jumping in the pool, feet first. Just don't call me mom today.
If only I can tell my brain that … instead my mom brain kicks in and I grab the bottle of SPF 30 sunscreen, a bottle of water and some carrot sticks. No books allowed – I must keep my eyes on the kids. I will grab a towel to place behind my head as I perch myself in a seated position on a pool deck lounger, read to jump in and save a child if necessary. I will lather on the sunscreen and wait as directed on the bottle before dipping my toes into the pool. My eagle eyes will be constantly searching and watching children as they play Marco Polo. And just when I think I can’t stand the heat any longer, I will gently splash water on my extremities while keeping my eyes on the children. Because that’s what moms do. Even on days when we can’t mom.
Staci J. Allen has more than 15 years of experience teaching and working with preschoolers. She currently serves as the Director of Caring Ministries at The Summit Church. Staci and her husband Rick live in Lee's Summit, Missouri, and enjoy spending time with their adult children and grandchildren.