My husband, Justin, and our four-year-old son, Evan, share a special bedtime ritual. This smart, or perhaps lazy, mommy outsourced the nightly bathing routine that precedes bedtime to dear ol’ dad early on in the parenthood days. After the bath, complete with teeth brushed and hair blow-dried, our son likes to get his remaining energy out by dancing around his room and singing at the top of his lungs. It is after this spectacle that I enter stage right and we say his night-night prayers. Not the “now I lay me down to sleep” variety, but real prayers where we ask God to bless our family and friends and all those suffering in the world. I also ask God, perhaps a little too emphatically, to please let us sleep all night long with no interruptions-please, please, please.
Four years ago, after a long and winding fourteen combined years of dating and marriage, my husband and I finally decided that it was time to venture down the path of parenthood. Full disclosure here, I have never felt very maternal or had any great desire to have children. My college roommate and I use to joke that while she had always wanted to be a wife and a mother, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to stop at the wife part for me. I would babysit for local families as a teenager for gas and movie money and literally watch the clock for when the parents were slated to arrive home. I had little patience for the children’s constant need for attention or for playing make believe games. I distinctly remember feeling a bit sorry for the frazzled parents and I cringed at the thought of one day joining their ranks.
I spent the majority of 2017 really examining my life, my career, my personal interests and the needs of my family. Years of long commutes, stress at work and getting home closer to bedtime left me exhausted, frustrated and with little left to give the ones that deserved the best of me. I knew that something had to give, but I didn’t know where to begin.
One weekend, while performing a long overdue closet cleanout, I came across a scrapbook of articles that I wrote for a local newspaper when I was in college. Now, I’m not normally a very emotional person, but tears came to my eyes as I read. This, my inner voice whispered, this is what you should be doing. The more I read, the more the tears began to flow. I had been asking for a sign, and I thought this was as close to a flashing light as I was going to get.