The last few nights I haven’t slept very well. We’ve changed up the bedding every night, trying to decide whether to put a light blanket under the quilt, no blanket under the quilt, a blanket on top of the quilt just on my side… you name it. No matter what we’ve done, I keep waking up dripping in sweat. Awesome. I spent the last couple of months making this enormous quilt by hand and now that it’s done I don’t like sleeping under it. I really like to sleep under a heavy quilt/blanket (hey Cheryl, does this speak to sensory issues?). It doesn’t necessarily have to be super warm, I just prefer the heavier weight (and usually with a pillow over my head, too. I even made sure to make this quilt with the high quality cotton batting instead of the poly fluff stuff. Go figure.
Anyway, when Drew woke up this morning he found me on the couch. About 3am I had to leave the bed because my side of the sheets were soaked in sweat. Gross, right? Anyway, I curled up on the couch with a different quilt and slept a bit like that.
I have Bible study this morning and then I’m running errands and meeting mom to get a pedicure. Oh yeah, and when I get home I’m going to put fresh sheets on the bed. I think I might sleep best in one of those moody chairs. Have you seen them?
It’s pretty much sleeping in a bean bag. Apparently I’m not alone or this chair wouldn’t exist.
I’ve noticed something interesting in the last few weeks. There is significantly less stress in my life. Now, please understand that stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stresses come in all forms. Good and bad. Being a parent is stressful. As I am around others and see them parenting I am reminded of that in new ways. Maybe the things I’m seeing aren’t new, I’m just seeing them differently now. You see, when Alex was born there was a total and complete shift in my reality. I was instantly aware of things that I never had been. I slept differently because I was constantly conscious of my child/children. While I was awake, while I was asleep. When I was with them, when I was away from them. Here’s what I didn’t expect… that immediately stopped when Alex died. I didn’t experience this when Emma died and I can only assume that was because Alex was still alive and my mommy consciousness was still necessary. When Alex died that motherly awareness left. I think that is part of the peace that I feel… I am no longer concerned for her well being and comfort. That prayer was answered when she passed. I don’t lay down praying that she sleeps well. I don’t wake up praying that she will be comfortable. Beyond those concerns are the ‘normal’ parenting thoughts. What will we do today? What can I do to make her day happy and fruitful? Is her favorite outfit clean and ready? How can I help her grow, learn, play and become the person God made her to be? Is my behavior setting the proper example? Those are things that, I think, many parents think of constantly. Those are all beautiful and wonderful stresses. Dictionary.com defines stress as, “Importance attached to a thing… significance, meaning, emphasis, consequence…” You see? Parenting is stressful. Full of stress. Full of meaning and significance. I will always be a mom, but that role is no longer active. The stress of parenting is over and that does bring me peace.
I’ve been thinking on this for weeks, but just now have the mustered the energy to express it in words. My point in sharing is not just to share my own feelings as I grieve, but to express my empathy to each mommy & daddy out there. Your job as a parent is full of meaning and significance and it isn’t easy. I’m guessing that nary a moment of your life passes that isn’t filled with consciousness of your child. That stress is both a responsibility and a privilege.
As for this, I cannot speak for any parent but myself… I am infinitely grateful that Drew & I shared the love of Christ with our girls. We are believers and in that faith I feel certain that despite all the parenting mistakes that we made, we did that one thing right. My heart is filled with the peace of Christ and memories of the time we had with Alex & Emma. God is good.