and then there's the single mom.

I'm sure this won't come as a surprise, but I'm one of those people who needs sleep. And I'm not one of those people that can grab a catnap mid-day to catch up, either. I need sleep, and I need it at night. Preferably between 10p-6a. Right about now you're probably thinking one of two things: why did you have children exactly? or how's that working for you right about now? The answers are: because and great, until last night.

David left  yesterday afternoon for a business trip. Usually we're the ones leaving him. This is the second trip he's made without us since we've had children. The first one was before Ethan was born, and David's parents took Emily on a little vacation while he was gone -- so mommy also got herself a little vacation. This time is different. We could have gone with him, as it's just down in Portland, but my super-duper-friend Melissa is flying in for a week's visit before he gets back.

Last night was picture-perfect. We FaceTime'd with my in-laws, had a tea party, then another with extra marshmallows. Then we found some birthday hats and had a birthday party (where admittance required no less than 3 hats on your body). We colored some Disney princesses and had a dance party. Everyone ate all their dinner without complaint, and worked themselves right into a sound bedtime. I was on the couch with a glass of wine by 8:05. This never happens. I looked around the house with a ridiculous grin: it was clean, organized and free of to-dos. For the moment, there was nothing to be done but relax. I even had total control over the remote. Bliss, I tell you.

Then I began to bounce. You know, when your knee bobs up and down subconsciously. There was no husband to notice and tell me to relax or ask me if I wanted to talk about it. So I bounced for a while. Apparently a long while. When I looked at the clock it was 10p. And I was wide awake. Oh, hell. Not a good sign. For years I struggled with insomnia. I'd sleep great between 4-6a, but the other hours were a crapshoot. Sometimes I'd sleep, but more often than not I'd sit in bed wide awake.

11:55 was the last time I looked at the clock. Until 1, anyway. When I woke up to no husband in bed. I grabbed for his pillow and went back to sleep. At 2:18 I shot up with the notion that I had slept through one of Emily's nightmares, and that Ethan had grabbed his blanket and smothered himself. I got up, checked both kids and went back to sleep. At 3:26 I woke up frying hot, with the realization I had forgotten to turn down the heat. I got up, turned it down, and laid back down. I settled in with a happy-face because I knew that no matter what this was the time of night my body would get it's best sleep. At 3:37 I woke to a crying baby (who has been sleeping through the night for a couple of months). I scrambled in to his room and immediately knew what happened: poop. [My friends with boys have warned me about boys and poop. Apparently it's starting early.] I changed the diaper as fast as possible, re-swaddled the now wide-awake and smiling little man, and went back to bed. Upon which time I realized the white noise machine wasn't on. Lovely. I must have turned it on to 'timer' mode instead of 'stay-on-all-night-so-my-noise-doesn't-wake-the-baby' mode. I got up again, snuck in to his room, turned the dang thing on, and snuck back out.

For maybe the first time ever, I didn't sleep between 4-6a. I sat awake most of that time thinking about a friend of mine. I went back and forth between my silly nighttime struggle and what life must be like for her, the single mom. There's me...having one off night, and then there's the single mom. I can wake up tomorrow, put on the sweats and pour Emily some Cheerios and let the coffee slowly wake me up. And then there's the single mom.

She and I have shared really fun times, and some not-so-great lifetime experiences. Our lives forked one day when she found herself single and pregnant, at a time where I couldn't get myself pregnant despite concerted efforts.

I doubt she knows how often I think about her. I admire her for the genuine, lovely person she is. She runs her own business, has raised a sweet, strong boy, and maintains this smokin' figure. Those things are impossible enough with help. Thinking about her makes me want to be a better mom, a better wife. --And get my lazy buns into my running shoes every day.

I'm writing this so I remember to shake off my next self-pity-party and get the heck over it (and myself).


Deep conversation this morning while mommy sucks down a pot of coffee.