It Hurts Me Too
“Get some sleep…”
It’s a credo used by every parent. I don’t care what language you use, either.
“Etwas zu schlafen”; “duerme un poco”; “a fhail ar roinnt codlata”
The meaning is the same. You’re driving me nuts, you’re too exhausted, you’re going to get sick which will in turn get your siblings or – worse – me sick. I don’t have time for that.
As parents, though, we don’t think about the turnabout of our own words.
This happened last night to me with my middle daughter. I’ve had a particularly stressful and difficult project to contend with at work which, in turn, caused many late nights. I’ve managed to get dinners pre-prepared for the kids and given them the contingency plan for when I’m inevitably late. This isn’t an issue.
Yet when I get to work early and leave late only to come home and have to wash the PE clothes, clean the kitchen, and make lunches and prep dinner for the next day, it’s just not a good combination. My stress also caused me the last few nights to awaken in the middle of the night in a panic with video clips running through my head. I can’t shake off that feeling quickly so the sleeplessness continues.
In the middle of all this walked my middle child.
“You look exhausted,” she told me.
“Glad I don’t look better than I feel,” was my response.
“You can’t do that, Dad. We need you around.” I looked at her, threw out a “yeah, I know,” and she didn’t let up.
“You need to get some sleep,” was her response.
She did all but quote the old Elmore James tune “when things go wrong with you, it hurts me, too.” But there you have it. She got the gist of it out.
The kids have already seen the loss of one parent and they became keenly aware, unfortunately, that we aren’t immortal. Parental immortality is supposed to last at least until they graduate high school, or that’s my theory. Mine disappeared in 2011 with the loss of their mother.
So here my child sits, worried about me instead of the other way around.
Still . . . I took her advice.
“There’s Mac and Cheese in the cupboard,” I told her. “Think you guys could do that for dinner tomorrow instead?”
“YES!” was the unequivocal response from the 3 kids in my home. It doesn’t always take much to make them happy.
Here I fixed lunches, looked at my daughter, and at a rare 9:30pm informed her “I’m going to bed.”
I slept like a rock.
The next morning I was just as exhausted, but not as beat down as before.
It’s not often you get advice from your kids, particularly your own advice, but when you get it, it’s best that you take it. They are right. When things happen to me they worry and there’s not point in making them worry. That just makes things harder on all of us.
It’s ironic, though, that I take their advice and as I sit here . . . they fight going to bed tonight tooth. . . and . . . nail.