by | Nov 1, 2010 | Every Day Life

Never eat grapes right after brushing your teeth, unless you need to make some kind of unbelievable facial contortion. I am sharing this with you because that is exactly what I did before sitting down to write this column. Now that my face and taste buds have recovered I can get on with the real topic of this month’s story: thankfulness.
I have reached that age were waking up in the middle of the night for no good reason at all is a fairly common event. I have come also to realize that most women are destined to spend more than half their adult life never getting a full night’s sleep. “Why,” you ask? Oh, let me tell you.
First, in most cases, there are children. When they are babies you are up in the middle of the night because they demand that you feed and change them. I think we can all agree that that is not an unrealistic expectation on their part, but results in very little sleep for you, nonetheless. Then they turn in to preschoolers who can, for the most part, feed and change themselves. This advancement in skills requires you to wake to every sound you hear just to make sure they are not helping themselves to the fridge in the middle of the night. Or better yet, that they are not using their newly found, “I can do it by myself” attitude to flush an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet in the middle of the night. And, let’s not forget to mention that any sneeze or cough has our eyes instantly pop open; next, we will lay there listening to see if there are anymore to follow.
We move along into the elementary years of our children and we are still plagued by the coughs, the sneezes and the bumps in the night. We must next add a whole other category of, “oh shoot.” (Sometimes I will admit, that “oh shoot” was an “oh ****.” So thankful I serve a God of grace and mercy.)
There are those moments when, in the middle of the night, you shoot straight out of bed because you have just remembered you are supposed to bring homemade cupcakes to your child’s class first thing in the morning. Or, after forgetting to get poster board for the third day in a row for your child’s group project, you promise it will be on the kitchen table when they wake up. Of course all the other parents already have sent their supplies. The only problem is you forgot — once again — to go buy it. This is when you grab those house slippers and make a run to Wal-Mart.

Now for those notorious teenage years, we think we are exhausted because we are getting older. Not true. We are exhausted because we get very little sleep when they are teenagers. We stay up until they get home – or at least we attempt to stay up. Even if we do fall asleep on the couch, we wake up when they finally walk through the door. Then, there is this sixth sense we mothers have that wakes us up in the night just to check on them. We hope to see our darling babies sound asleep in their beds we enter their rooms — only to find them on their cell phone, playing video games, or missing from their room, gone because they have snuck out. Oh, what fun years!

Then come the college years. Yes, now we will get some sleep because they are out of the house. Not! You see, by this time we really are older and we have meet a whole new enemy of our sleep — hormones.
This is the phase I am in now. There is not one single child in my house to keep me awake or awaken me and yet, 3:30 a.m. and I are becoming best friends. On the nights I remember to take melatonin before I lie down, I can usually make it to about 6:30 or maybe 7 a.m., otherwise, I am up.
My sister just shared with me today that she woke up at 3 a.m. last night and got up and did some housework. I refuse to give in to this sleep stealer with such grace and industriousness. No, I will lay in my bed and toss and turn and fuss and fume! A lot of good that does me, right?
Some of you may remember that I said this column was going to be about thankfulness. Where is it? I am getting there.
Just a couple of nights ago I had fussed and fumed for quite a bit and I reached down at the bottom of the bed and pulled up my favorite blanket. As soon as I snuggled it against my face I felt peaceful. It is an extremely soft blanket. I quickly sent a prayer heavenward thanking God for such a soft blanket. Within a millisecond God reminded me not everyone has such a soft blanket to sleep with; some have no blanket at all. I then began to think of what a great bed I have to sleep in every night and of how much I really like (love) my pillow. I know there are millions in the world who do not have luxuries such as pillows and beds. I began to thank God for my bed, my blankets, my sheets, my pillow and even for my bathroom, just a few feet away with running water. (This is the same bathroom that I am using more frequently in the middle of the night these days.) How amazingly blessed I am with so much that I take for granted.
So mommas (and daddies,) whatever stage of sleep deprivation in which you find yourselves – infant through hormones – I encourage you to look around and find the blessings. They are right at your finger tips — even in the middle of the night.

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