It’s been a week and, sigh, it’s only Wednesday afternoon (when I am writing this post). There have been lots of big things going on at home (a lil’ birthday party for baby, his one year appointment, the transitions that come with that, and a tree limb that impaled our garage (good news is it could have also impaled our bedroom so hooray that it got the garage) to name just a few because, really, I’m not going to bore you), I’m busy work-wise (there is lots of new school year starting up busy-ness for me as a teacher and for Circle de Luz) and just general lifeyness (not a word, I know, but I am not my most articulate right now).
Anyway, when we were at the doctor’s office on Monday, we were talking about the whole sleep situation (or lack of sleep situation as we had a night last week where baby was wide awake from 11 pm until 5 am and most nights there is a good three hours of wakefulness between 11 and 5) and our doctor (who I adore) just looked at us and said, “This is THE MOST SEVERE sleep situation I’ve ever dealt with in my career.” You and me both, buddy. You and me, both.
The sleep thing has been interesting because it has been so illuminating for me (and don’t wory, I am not depressed– just observing and trying to be as proactive moving forward as our daily reality can allow). I’m not at my best without sleep and so it has been incredibly humbling to be inarticulate and less nuanced when my identity is somewhat informed by my ability to be articulate and nuanced. I’ve been so much less productive and not even that good a friend– two other things I thought were just innate parts of my identity– because I just can’t remember things or move as fast when I’m tired. Sometimes, I feel so unfamiliar to myself that I wonder how I must come across to my loved ones. I am loved by wonderful people, it is one of my finest fortunes in life to have the friends and family that I do have, and I’m certain that I am being given much grace but, seriously, seven months of grace? That’s a mighty amount to request.
The funny thing is that since Monday, baby has only woken twice each of the last two nights and the wake-ups have been relatively brief– no more than an hour each which is amazing for us. Sleeping relatively well for two nights has almost reminded me of the girl I once was. I am sustaining a thought, feeling some energy for things, getting things done just a bit quicker, remembering, having moments of inspiration here and there. I am also having some clarity about things– like what to keep in my life if I only get 15-20 hours to work and volunteer, socialize and be (which I know is way more than most people get to do all those things). The timing is perfect– as the symbolic start of a new year for me has always coincided with the start of a new school year. There’s not a light at the end of the tunnel yet, but there’s some light and hope and clarity and enthusiasm for the things I feel called to do. When I go through these periods of search and study, I am always reminded of this poem by Mary Oliver. I only have to let the soft animal of my body love what it loves, I tell myself. And that’s true for you, too.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.