There's a season of life where sleep is impossible.
It's the Season of Teenagers.
Last night while my oldest was away at her college's pre-orientation, my two boys, 14 & close-enough-to-17-for-it-to-count, had friends over. When I went to bed, the two youngest were watching tv and the older four were playing Xbox. Miraculously, I fell asleep.
1:14 am – I wake up.
1:14½ am – I walk into the playroom, find the 14 year olds now playing Xbox, send 'em to bed. Walk downstairs to look for the older boys, hear 'em laughing and playing basketball outside. I listen a few minutes, then once I'm comfortable there's no monkey business going on, head back to bed. They never knew I was up.
1:30 am – I've tossed and turn 1,295 times and prayed for my daughter's future roommates, relationships and college transition.
1:45 am – Tossing and turning now up to 3,173 times. Also counted 8402 sheep. I consider praying some more but all I can think about is what the boys are doing now.
2:00 am – I hear dogs bark in the distance. I begin imagining what the boys are doing, sure they're the impetus for the barking dogs. Ringing and running? TPing the neighbor's yard? Meeting up with they type of girls who sneak out of their houses at two in the morning?? Experimenting with all kinds of illegal substances one of them found from a wayward uncle's stash???
The middle of the night stirs demons and delirium.
2:18 – Awake for over an hour with no sleep in sight, I throw on a robe and walk back downstairs. The boys have made cinnamon rolls since my last check (Exhibits #1 and #2, an empty icing container and dirty pan). I open the back door and hear them talking just outside our garage, so I inch closer to spy.
Thomas spots me immediately, then with a smirk on his face and idiocy in his voice says, "Hey, Mom…we're just out here drinkin'." If you know him, you know the goofy look that's on his face.
They all laugh but there's not a cup in sight.
I walk to the door and he says, "We're talking. I dunno why, but we're wide awake and we're just talking…." I quickly study each of them, and true–not one of their faces suggest it's 2:30 in the morning. Except mine.
I zigzag a finger in their general direction and tell them no leaving our driveway, no TPing houses, no ringing and running and I ignore Thomas' flip, "And no boozing???" He says some more things that would totally be lost in translation (unless you have boys his age), the things that demand laughs from his friends and rebuke from his mother.
Which demands more laughs from his friends.
Satisfied they're not up to anything of concern, I tell them I'll check on them in hour. In my head that sentence is finished with "…if I'm awake" but I really hope to be asleep.
What they don't know won't hurt 'em, and I wonder if they know I'm probably not telling the truth.
2:42 am – I'm pretty sure I'm asleep by now.
When your children are infants through preschool, you get no sleep because they wake up during the night and need you.
There's a brief respite during the tween years to rest you up before the teen years begin; this is catch up sleep from what comes before and preparation sleep for what lies ahead.
The Season of Teenager lasts six or seven years; you get no sleep because your children are likely awake and don't need you or are because you're aware they could be doing something that will precipitate their need for you.
This is probably just fine because you're middle aged and CAN'T sleep regardless, so really your kids are doing you a favor by giving you someone to blame.
Then one day all your babies will be off at college, or gainfully employed and living elsewhere, or married with or without children and you can sleep all you want until…
the grandbabies spend the night.
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