Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Exhausted!

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.


Dave and Camille said...

I always loved that you stayed up waiting for us each night. It actually really meant a lot to me! It is also definitely something that I plan on doing with my kids!

Cherie said...

Wonderful post! I too have my college girl back at home - 19 years old and I can't sleep till she walks through the door.
Waiting up for kids has been one of the joys of my life. There have been a few panic moments like the time my oldest daughter fell alseep watching a movie at a friends house. Curfew was midnight and by 12:30 and no answers from her cell phone I was out the door. Happy that it was not a bad situation but so glad that I was awake enough to know that my child was not home when she should have been.
It really does make the kids more accountable and lets them know how much you love them!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

Sounds like all of us moms are up in the middle of the night. Some of my best mothering has been done wearing my nightgown during the wee hours.

I look like a wreak in the morning but would never change to get some sleep. I still have a 19 year old who has lived away at college last year. Yep, I'm in the club too.

Camille's comment means so much. It makes me feel I can handle tonight, the start of the weekend, a little easier.

Love you ladies and your awesome examples.

MissKris said...

You're nice. I would tell Kat she has to be home by my bedtime. She should be VERY glad that YOU're her mother :)

Shannon said...

I faced this twice this week. Thanks for the reminder that I really do want to be up when they get home. I can sleep any time, right?! (When, exactly would that be, by the way?)

Momza said...

Thank you for this, Lori.
I'll remember this when I am tempted to just go to bed, instead of waiting up for a late night straggler.
And you're so right...those conversations in the wee hours of the night/morning are really worth the sacrifice of sleep.

Handsfullmom said...

I love hearing how you've done things with your older kids. I don't even have a teenager yet, but it's good for me to get ideas for then. You're a wonderful mother.

My mom went to bed and slept but we had to check in with her when we got home. We didn't have deep conversations, but she always knew when we were home and what time. I think she was the lightest sleeper, though -- she always woke up before I even said a word.

Sue said...

I never slept until my kids were home either. And yes, we did have some great, late-night talks!


The Crazy Coxes said...

I don't go to sleep to all of my children are home either. But I also tell them they have to be back at a reasonable hour. I don't care what they do at college. But even 65 year old houseguests tell their hosts where they are going and come home at a reasonable hour. (ok, so 65 year olds are tired and come home early, but you know what I mean.) ;)

Roger and LeAnn said...

Wow, that post brought back a slew of memories of doing that very thing. We had a rule that if they were going to be late they needed to call us. Most of the children obeyed that rule. When my son came home from his mission he stayed out until 4 am and I waited up for him. Some would say he is 21 years old why would you do that. However, I said that as long as you live under my roof you can at least make a phone call. He was great after that and called us.
One time I feel asleep and through the years the children mainly went to their father's side of the bed. One night my daughter came home and went to my side of the bed and I woke up and screamed; and scared us all.
It was fun to think of those moments that brought a few laughs.
Blessings to you! LeAnn
If you get a moment check out my blog. I posted my 8 year old blind granddaughter playing the piano and told the story of how she became blind.

Marilyn said...

I hear ya' sister.

kali said...

Ryan still to this day doesnt get super chatty until night time!! It cracks me up because we are total opposites on this, as soon as my head hits the pillow Im ready to fall soon as Ryan's head hits the pillow he turns into a chatterbox!! It makes me laugh though, I love it :) See you tomorrow!