The restless crying and thrashing piled up – first once, then twice, all the way up to five times, when I finally gave up and took him to bed with me. It’s not unusual for Jude to wake up in the night, but five times? He was like a reverted newborn, nearly two but having seemingly forgotten how this day/night thing worked.
This went on for several nights, my sleep deprived haze growing ever foggier. I can’t do this anymore! This is never going to end!!! I lamented to myself. I’ve been tired – no, exhausted – for two years now, and sleep fantasies are never far from my mind, like a golden, bright, unattainable prize at the end of the tunnel next to the one through which I’m traveling. My tunnel just looks dark. The prize of sleep doesn’t seem to be in my future.
Then one afternoon, I saw it. Or, rather, them – five tiny white bubbled atop the reddest, angriest little gums you ever did see. Teeth! So close to making their grand entrance! Apparently when Jude teethes, he does it all at once, preparing to welcome four cuspids and one lateral incisor in one fell swoop. No wonder he doesn’t sleep! And all at once, a few of the teeniest rays of light shuffled their way into the end of my tunnel..
It’s this way for me with a lot of things. Sleep, especially. I find myself stuck in the present, and not always in a good way. Things are what they are, I think. They’ll never change.
my baby will never sleep through the night || my preschooler will never be old enough for kindergarten || I’ll never be able to hear NPR in the car over the din in the backseat || My children will never not complain about every single thing I cook || we’ll never be done with diapers || Tahd and I will never be able to find the time to go away together || I will never not be overrun by toys || there will never be enough time to read/take photos/run/cook/finish painting || my floors will always be crunchy
I should know better. I thought this way when Gabe teetered and tottered through his early years, and then, poof! Before I knew it, he was in school and even faster to double digits, growing up before my very eyes. And yet, I still find myself thinking, Gabe will never be old enough to go off to college, right?
All these nevers…they’re really just “for nows,” even though they seem like eternity in the moments and stages. They pass, flitting and floating by so quickly that what once seemed permanent later seems only elusive, like it hardly had time to happen.
So, yes, my baby doesn’t sleep through the night. For now.
Yes, my floors are crunchy. For now.
Yes, sibling rivalry is ubiquitous. For now.
Yes, undone projects are the name of my game. For now.
But not forever. These things and more are just a season – a season to be endured, a season to survive, a season to embrace, a season to cherish. It’s easy to forget, even though I know from experience, that I’ll miss many of these things when they’re gone, even the ones that don’t feel very “missable” right now.
“For now” is not “forever,” a flavor that is both bitter and sweet.