Once we become parents, our children rent a big part of our hearts and keep living there for forever. All of them: our boys , our girls and our balls of fur have this nonsensical power over us and over our sweet sweet sleep. The one thing that can keep all of us from getting a good nights sleep on few not so good days of our life , very often seems to always have some connection with our children.
Our sleepless nights have many reasons during the growing up years of our children. There are nights filled with the cries of our infants who haven’t been able to regulate their time yet and are still adjusting to the life outside the wombs. Some nights we are awake worrying about our babies midnight screams from colic pains and ear aches. Then their are nights spent with over tired toddlers who don’t want to sleep because of their new found “we can be our feet independence”. The non stop chatter of novice talkers who love to hear the sounds that come of their mouth can make us hear their stories over and over again…all night long. The new big school joinees who have been pushed out of their comfort zones give us some more nights of anxiety where we are trying our best to pacify them. The middle school blues some related to our children not have found good friends ,pressure of studies, adjustment problems and maybe some bullying and teasing they experience in school….result in more sleepless nights for us.Then our older kids or not so old kids who have blackmailed their way into getting smart phones …stay awake to text and browse trying to escape our scrutiny in the darkness of night,mess with our sleep the most.And us parents keeping a vigil sometimes under the garb of being cool and sometimes being a dictator …end up fretting all night long.Some more sleep deprived nights get used in to comimg to terms with the fact that we are losing control on what our children will see, hear and do from here on. Teenagers and their love for odd hour snapchats, feeding and browsing Instagram stories…leave many of us clueless and some of us shocked with the kind of things people , pop icons, from our point of view stupid people post… ,in turn again keeping us miles away from sleep. Then comes the high school stage when students who need moral support of staying awake in the night with them or to be woken up at unearthly hours to study to ace that board exam or the SAT’s and the ACT’s,to write those important essays,prepare their portfolios or for calming nerves just before their college board interviews, Baird results or college aceceptance sore rejections. For some time our sleep patterns gets regulated and we start feeling we have done enough …kept a discerning eye on their affairs,helped in them choosing a good set of friends and the right college, taught them to be cyber safe …and counselled them well of the dangers lurking in the outside world.
They have now all grown up, are almost adults and much more sensible..but that is not the end of our sleepless nights.Before we know the time has come for them to step out alone,curfew times have stretched and “we can have late night parties ” realisation has come and is consuming them big time. We parents don’t get spared again ..because now we stay awake in the wait of getting that one syllable long message of their reaching and leaving the party…worries over what’s being served there, what kind of crowd has been invited there, do our kids who aren’t kids anymore know their limits….. Will they honour the promises they have made to us of remaining safe…. Not drinking or smoking or taking drugs and have the courage and will power to say no peer pressure …..Staying put in the group they trust etc etc…
We parents unknowingly bargained for these sleepless nights when we asked God to bless us with children …our bundles of joys. And we are stuck with these sleep starved nights for a long time to come still. The dates and days on the calendar are flipping fast to a time when all our children are ready to leave for college. Stepping out of our physical circle of control with we hoping to keep working at our emotional connect from here on …because controlling their lives won’t be possible anymore and nor we should try to. From here on, our good night’s sleep will depend on that one phone call a day/ week( that is if we are lucky and they are free to pick up our phones), the one small sentence “I am fine and safe” on what’s app or snap chat ( or is snap chat for their friends only) , the look on their faces on Skype or FaceTime , the look that says “I have settled in ” ” I have all under control” and to hear the calmness in their voices.
Our furry ball dogs can’t be absolved from the blame either for some breaks in our interrupted sleep over the years. These come from them whining for getting the air conditioner on , barking to see what’s happening in the rest of house in the middle of the night or making us cuddle them on our way to the washroom at the oddest hour of the night.They will continue to make us tickle their bellies in the middle of night and some of their barking will hopefully keep us alert and kicking …which we need as we aren’t getting younger no more.But our children would be manoeuvring there own lives, their way unlike our dogs who thankfully will remain babies forever and aren’t going anywhere.
Many of us are now progressing towards the stage of being settled with the fact that our nests were never supposed to be full forever anyways… and readying ourselves to happily move into the last phase of our life which would have much lesser strings attached and many more good nights sleep….hopefully!