Parenting

A Note to the Historian

Throughout the course of history, even the grandest thinkers and doers have often found it necessary to abandon all worldly pursuits of knowledge or action in favor of gaining additional quantities of the most vital need of non-impoverished humanity: sleep. Such is my course.

To the detriment of my own slumber habits, my youngest child has willfully, and with much excitement, decided that dawn, with its magestic views of a rising sun and otherworldly colors, is the highlight of every day, and sleeping through it must be what some call a sin or what others call insanity. And so she wakes every morning with a cry of jubilance and anguish, anxious for the morning light but angered by the light-blocking shade plastered across her bedroom window. I hear the first faint wails, dampened by the blaring humidifier in the hall, but as the cries grow louder I open my heavy eyelids and try to imagine a worse time of day to be awake. She greets me with a smile, so adorably ignorant of her tortuous ways, and points a dainty finger toward the door. "Free me from this wretched prison of a crib," her expressions say, and I do, and, as we arrive at the foot of the stairs, she squirms out of my grasp and crawls her way to freedom. She pulls herself up to the windowsill, bends and pulls at the blinds, and peaks out into the glaring morning light as though it's the most precious gift anyone could give her.

Then I throw her in her playpen and lay on the couch. She cries, and in my sleep-deprived dementia I may feel some sense of guilt or parental negligence, but it is a weak sensation and one that is easily dismissed.

So do remember, my youngest child, when you chronicle the history of your life, to note your father's willingness to rise with you so early in the morning, to let you gaze upon the universal beauty of a sunrise. And also, my sweetness, please forget my subsequent neglect, for I am only human, and I suffer the same needs as most. I do not ask your forgiveness, and I do not ask your allegiance. I ask only for a little sleep.

Really, is that so much?

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This post was originally shared on my at-home parenting blog, The Daily Writer, which has long since vanished. I’ve migrated many of the posts to this site for sentimental reasons.

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