Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sleep is for the Weak

When Aquaman was about 6 months old, and in his deepest throes of sleeplessness, my sister C bought him a onesie that said "sleep is for the weak". He didn't need the sleep. He seemed to wonder why I thought I did.
That first two years was impossibly hard. It was hard physically and mentally, especially when I was still working full-time, and had to appear like I had at least half a brain. It was extremely hard emotionally, because if you read enough parenting books or talk to the wrong people, you'll convince yourself that their sleeplessness is a reflection on your poor parenting skills. 

Today he is 5 years and 5 months old. And sleeplessness doesn't panic me like it used to.
Maybe it's because I've cut back a lot on work, and changed a lot of my identity along the way. Maybe it's because I just got used to it. Maybe it's because, by now, working the 3rd shift beside my children has become less a blow to my pride than an opportunity for honor. A way to serve that is covered by the dark of night. A test of faith, and a chance to see more clearly how supernaturally God will provide to those He loves.

This week Aquaman caught the dreaded illness that knocked The Dude out for the count 2 weeks ago. He burned with fever night and day, and slept very little. Getting larger and more awkward as I transition into the 3rd trimester, and wracked with unpredictable hormones, I woke often with surging adrenaline to a crying child only to find myself completely unable to return to sleep despite total exhaustion.

As I held his burning hand in mine, I listened to the Welsh lullaby that plays at the end of their CD, "all through the night". 

"Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night."

And this week I enjoyed the vigil. I didn't fear it, I just went with it. It's crazy how much fuller life is when you stop fighting it. Stop trying to fit it into this neat little box, and just go with it. Accept the tiredness, even embrace it. 

This is my favorite part of pregnancy. 2nd trimester has always been over-rated to me. For me, 2nd trimester involves sickness that continues longer than I think it should, and my time of most rapid weight gain and joint loosening and bodily adjustment. I enjoy this part of the 3rd trimester. My energy has mostly returned. Food has never tasted better. The little one moves regularly, and I can start to pick out bony elbows and knobby knees. Though I frequently surprise myself by getting stuck or bumping into things with my new protrusion, it is starting to become more familiar and comfortable. 
It's a time of preparation and excitement. We cleaned out the "linen closet" which houses our books, scrapbooks, journals and games yesterday. Today, I'm aiming for the boys' bookcase.
On Thursday we had an unexpected day off with JT, and the boys helped me clean all of the bathrooms. JT brought home a dresser, and we're now only one dresser shy of having enough for everyone. Then the clothes sorting will begin. Washing newborn clothes and daydreaming about who he will be.

Most people get the nursery ready, but I've never done that. None of my babies have come home to their own rooms, and if they did they wouldn't have slept in them anyway. 
He has a new Rock n Play sleeper ready in the closet, piles of clothes, and already a pretty good stash of newborn diapers. He won't need much more than that and my arms for a long time. 

I know it's going to be crazy. The boys these days are pretty self sufficient. I can take a shower in peace (well, mostly). A lot of things are going to be turned upside down. 
But last night as I sat down with the boys to eat dinner, I could just picture another face there. A face that, like the other two, is so similar, but so very different. A boy who will bring a whole new dynamic of personality to our family. 

Today is February 1st. All that is left of rainy, sick January days are huge mud puddles and thick congestion.

 JT just came home, having been granted an unexpected overtime day off, and took the now fever free boys on an "adventure". I don't have any outside work to do, and I'm surprisingly not very tired.

My Bible reading has moved on to Exodus. Which can be a little harder to struggle through with a sleep deprived brain. Why the elaborate priestly garments, and the temple that had to be set up just so? I know it matters, so I don't skip a word, and I'm reminded that our God is a God of detail, and of intention. He's a God who, in the Old Testament demanded formality so that His people would not live life carelessly, but in awe of Him and the responsibilities that we have in bearing His Name. So that we could see how incapable we are of all of it, and trust Him.

And then there's Matthew, where I came to find Jesus on a donkey's colt this morning. And the children shouting Hosanna, because He had come to save them. And the priests wondering whether they really wanted to be saved or not.
It occurred to me this morning, that maybe it wasn't just that Jesus wasn't the kind of Savior they had hoped for, but that they didn't want a Savior at all. After all, life was pretty good for the "priests". They had control of the people, by weighing them down with laws and formalities.
And so Jesus came to be the new priest. The one who saves us from the impossible, and stands in the gap. Who will one day clothe us in precious jewels because we are His. Though here maybe we'll just keep wearing peasant's clothes and looking like foolish children with palm branches.

It can be scary when prophecies come true. Even when we think they're what we wanted all over lives. I read how James and John's mother came to Jesus and asked that they be granted honor at his left and right hand, and how He answered "you do not know what you're asking. Can you drink the cup I have been given?"
Do we really want honor? Because before honor comes the lowest of humiliations.
Do I want that kind of honor? Because comfort is for the weak. And it's so nice being comfortable.
But it's the last who will someday be first. And I'm asking God to help me be ok with that. In this world in which it is so hard to be transformed, because of the many distractions, both the pleasant and the mundane.

Fear often keeps me from asking for honor, because I know the price with which it comes. But faith is what keeps me looking for more.

There is something about pregnancy that always causes me to look back. I remember so much of the darkness from which I have come, and I remember how capable I am of returning to it. It is definitely a humbling place to be. But then I think of the Grace. How He saved me from the many consequences that I was too stupid or too blind to see ahead. How He rescued me from the pit and put my feet on solid ground. There will be more pits. But there's less of the drifting away. So often I remember the cry of the disciples when Jesus sadly asked "will you go too?" and they said, I am sure full of terror: "where ELSE would we go?"
As terrifying as living a life of faith can be, there is nothing more terrifying than slipping away from it.

So forward we go, into the unknowns of this year.

 Into the humiliations that we will someday realize were honor.
Judah took this picture. It would have been a great one if he hadn't been so excited that he couldn't hold still. ;)