At the end of this day of playing, running, crying, nursing, your little body has finally settled, your breathing has slowed and I mimic your deep breaths as the warmth of your skin on mine melts my heart.
In these still and quiet moments, I muster the energy I still have at the end of the day and try to send you all my positive thoughts as you drift off to sleep. Your precious soul should be reassured you’re growing well, learning well. Today, like all days, I hope we molded your heart a little more to be kind and thoughtful, strong and courageous.
Your mind should be filled with thoughts that are noble and pure and lovely. If your sleepy thoughts drift back to that tense moment today when you could have had a better attitude or made a better decision, I hope you don’t dwell on it. Think more about what you’ve learned and how you will do better next time. Know that even in your moments of weakness, you are so loved.
So I play peaceful soothing music and whisper “I love you.” Should your eyes flutter open in these last conscious moments of the day, I hope you catch glimpses overhead of puffy white clouds and soft, happy lambs circling overhead. You hear soothing tones that calm your spirit and you feel secure knowing that you are cared for, certainty that you are adored and joy that life is good.
But then I lay me down….
At the end of this day of chasing, prepping, sighing and nursing, my body is heavy and tense. As I attempt to fall asleep, the mobile over my head is very different. There are storm clouds and doubt and critics (mostly one loud self-critic.) Two main words are written in neon letters in my mind: “Not enough.”
There was not enough time today. I did not pay enough attention. Too few things were crossed off the “to do” list. I didn’t eat enough good things. I didn’t return that phone call and that project is still sitting in the corner waiting to be done… and on and on. The music playing in my mind may start out as the sounds of my children giggling and telling a story, but somehow the sound of spilled milk or the buzzer of the dryer crowd them out and I hear noise. The noisiness is the problem.
When I hear too many sounds at once, I can’t focus on any of them. And so I feel overwhelmed, defeated and too tired to sift through it all. Eventually my body may tire out and allow me some hours of sleep, but often the last thing tugging at my mind at night is the first thing on my mind in the morning. I lay down and circling overhead are lists and undone somethings and they swirl around in my mind overnight. And again, my first thought in the morning is, “I didn’t get enough sleep for this day. How am I going to have enough to give?”
In truth, you will see my mobile if you don’t already. When you’re just a little older, you’ll adopt it as your own and it will follow you around. So even if some days, changing my thoughts for myself is not enough motivation, doing it for you gives me the push. In this instance I can be simultaneously selfish and selfless.
So I must allow myself the grace and hope that I want you to allow yourself. I must not dwell on those moments I did not show the most patience or tenderness any longer than it takes to determine to do better. So I’m making a point to change my mobile and my mindset: before my eyes close for the day, I’ll fill my mind with the memories that made me happy and inspire me to create the joyful mood in our home in which we all thrive. I’ll tell myself my work matters, I’ll hope tomorrow is a good day filled with new opportunities to love and enjoy and I’ll try to fall asleep smiling. Only the good is really worth remembering and I hope you can do that, too.
I know you’ll only believe it if you see it in me, anyway. So, let’s sleep well and love well. Each other and ourselves.