Friday, August 13, 2010
Okay, so not nearly as exhausted as last year at this time, when I was also teaching seminary, but I am tired nonetheless.
I made a personal commitment to make breakfast for Michelle every morning before seminary, which means I get up at 5:15. I love mornings, and in the past got up at 4:30, so 5:15 really wouldn’t be a problem, except that Kathryn is not in school yet and therefore still operating on a summer schedule.
Translated . . . that means she has been out until early hours of the morning with her friends. Which also means I stay awake waiting for her to come home.
Yes, I know she will be 20 in a couple weeks. And yes I know she lived away from home all last year where she was out late nearly every night. Still, when she is living at home, I wait.
It started with a promise I made to myself many years ago. I was in my early 20’s and visiting with a young man who told me he often went home at night drunk, but his parents were always asleep so they never knew.
At that moment I decided I would always wait up for my kids so they would have to look me in the eyes and tell me about their night. And now, many years later, I have lived through many sleepless nights waiting for a child to walk through the back door. There were times I was so tired I would go to bed and set an alarm for ten minutes before curfew, and there have been many times my husband and I have taken turns, but every time the kids were out, they knew they would have to face one or both of their parents upon their return.
Although the decision has been tiring at times, it has also been worth it.
One of my greatest blessings has been some of the late night/early morning talks with my children. I found they are much more willing to give details the moment they walk in the door, than they are the next morning. This was especially true for my son. Ryan has never been one to share a lot with me. However, for some reason, he would become very talkative around 1 in the morning. By 2 I would be struggling to stay awake and suggesting we continue our conversation in the morning, to which he would always reply, “What kind of a mother does not want to talk with her teenage son when he wants to talk with her?” And so, guilt applied, I would stay up.
But there are other more important reasons I am glad for the decision. There was one night when a child came home and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. And there was another when a child broke into tears as she shared with me a bad choice a friend had made.
At those moments, I was so very grateful for that day many years ago when the young man shared with me his story. At that time I could not have even begun to comprehend how his story would affect my life . . . and how it would help protect my children.
And so for at least this week and next, while Kat is still home, I will probably be burning the proverbial candle at both ends. But sometimes, being really tired is worth it, because sometimes what may make us tired, may also bring . . . joy to our journey.