Monday, November 7, 2011

hypothetical grace

It was one of those nights again.  Yep.  One of those nights that doesn't happen too often, but when you're in it, you can't remember that your child has ever slept more than an hour at a time.  You start to panic that he never will again, this is it, 4:30am is always going to be "morning". 

We had a rough one - the baby needed us at midnight, one and three - at 4:30 he was ready for the day.  Chris took the first couple of shifts, helping Saf fall back to sleep.  I took over at 3 and sent Chris to the spare bed - we traded places at 5:15 when Chris heroically voyaged into the dawn with our child.  This is the same child who had slept until 7:15 the morning before.  Ugh.

All else being equal, Saf is a decent sleeper and most nights we have few complaints.  We can collectively handle 2-3 wake-ups in the night (11 hours).  We're parents, for goodness sake - that's what we're made of.  In fact, we used to handle 6-7 wake-ups a night, so 2 is pretty awesome and sometimes there's only 1.  That's all things being equal - all quiet on the teething front, no shouting matches at the pub across the street, no stuffy nose or gassy belly.  Generally we have good nights. 

But every week or two we have a rough one, and it's hard.  The hardest part is the fear of the day, the clock watching and thinking of all the things to do and how will I survive if I'm so tired because my baby is keeping me up half of the night?  Or worse, fear of next year (or next month possibly!) when we have two babies that need our care in the nights, two babies that we won't leave to cry, two babies needing two parents meaning no tag-team shift sleeping.  That's what really gets me. 

And you know why it's all so scary in the night when the boy can't fall asleep?  Because there's no such thing as hypothetical grace.  There's no grace for all the things I need to do in the day, there's no grace for the potential fatigue I'll feel, and there's no grace for being parents of two wakeful babies under 18 months.

Why is there no grace for the future?

Because, as a friend reminded me this week, the future does not exist.

All that exists is right now.  So all of the hypothetical situations I create and analyze and fear about the future (near or distant) don't actually exist.  And therefore, there's no grace to live them.  And that's why they are so dang scary.

But right now, in this moment as my son naps and I write in my 'ideas' notebook with a blue pen - there's grace.  There's so much grace, actually.  And this morning when I was really tired and eating oatmeal with mango while my child insisted on feeding himself with a spoon and basically covered himself in oaty goop - there was grace.  Because that was real.

I can spend every night of my life fearing the morning, even when its no longer about my children sleeping, but it's about them driving or (Lord have mercy) dating. 

who would need any grace for this little guy??
Or I can do the things I know to do to help my son sleep peacefully, but when he doesn't, I can trust there will be grace.  Not hypothetical grace, for a hypothetical future.  Real grace for the real moments when they are in real time. 

[Although that being said, I still do hope we have a better night tonight. :) ]


  1. Excellent words to share, my dear friend! Thanks.

  2. Saf was getting into fights at the pub when he was younger? Wow he's tough. Great post.