When I was very young I shared a small rectangular bedroom with my younger sister. At the time, old linoleum covered the floors and some type of floral wallpaper adorned the four walls. Our room had a heavily slanted ceiling and the smallest window known to man; this tiny portal to the outside world was no more than 24" x 12". I can vividly remember being six or seven years old, shortly after being sent to bed, standing shoulder to shoulder with Ashley, each of us resting our heads on the windowsill- longingly looking outside. The sun had not yet set, the sweet, earthy scent of freshly mowed grass drifted in through our screen, and our neighbours (who were the same age as us) were still playing in their green wooden sandbox. We always wondered out loud, bitterly at times, why our mom was so mean; why did she make us go to bed so early!?
I was an idiot. Young, but still an idiot.
I totally understand now.
I understand that my parents had five children in eight years. I understand that they were insane. Not almost insane, but actually bat shit crazy. My mother clearly put us to bed at a decent hour, regardless of the season, so that she could have a few hours to herself and salvage a few meager moments of tranquility.
I readily admit- there are days when I have started the joy inducing "Bedtime Countdown" before I've even served lunch...and I only have 2 kids (well, three if you consider Nicholas). When I was a new mom, our bedtime routine consisted of a massage with lavender lotion, a story, a few lovingly hummed lullabies, and then I often rocked them to sleep. Tonight, after they foolishly stomped on my last raw nerve, they were forced to climb up the stairs, and into bed as I popped in a DVD, and set the sleep timer. I closed their doors, and let out a slow, ragged breath. Let that bimbo Snow White sing them to sleep! As I am writing this, I can still hear Noelle dancing around her room to the beat of The Wiggles. And that's fine by me. I firmly believe that they need some alone time away from Nick and myself...at least that's what I tell myself once I start feeling guilty about skipping our bedtime routine (like right...about...now.)
Over the years I have composed a prayer that I freely offer up on these days when bedtime can't arrive soon enough:
Lord, I need help today. I need extra patience and grace. I need the ability to show my children my love eventhough they are misbehaving. I need the strength to be a better woman...and I'll be needing bedtime to come sooner than usual tonight. Amen