When Midnight Hits and You’re Wide Awake

I don’t have insomnia. I feel like insomnia is like depression, we all experience it from time to time but not everyone legit has it and we shouldn’t throw it around willy-nilly.

But, it’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

Why I’m awake is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s because last night I hardcore fell into some kind of aggressive sleep coma just shy of 9:30pm and my post-middle age body is all hopped up on this strange feeling of being rested and doesn’t know what do with it.

But, it’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

Maybe it’s because sometimes I hate to fall asleep because I know the next thing I know it will be morning and I’ll have to live out my own personal Groundhog’s Day hell that isn’t nearly as fun or comical or poignant at Billy Murray’s. I honestly don’t know how many more times I can assemble George’s lunch. I say, “assemble” because he’s the third child, who doesn’t eat bread, would rather go without food than eat a sandwich, and so I assemble the following:

-apple sauce
-chocolate milk (relax, it’s organic)
-go-gurt (no artificial stuff…just the real deal sugar)
-trail mix (sorry nut allergy families, he won’t eat lunch meat)
-real fruit (he has a limited palate)
-fruit leather (yeah, I know, I suck)
-pretzels or goldfish or smartfood or anything else that comes in a bag

It’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

Maybe it’s because I think about things like what I pack my youngest child and worry that I’m ruining him by being too accommodating or too burnt-out or too suffocating with how damn much I love and adore him.

It’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

He also has really bad penmanship. Like so bad a Catholic nun from the 70s would have beat him to near death with a ruler by now, and rightfully so. He writes all his numbers like he’s a caveman and just discovered a pencil for the first time. No one ever taught him how to hold or a pencil or write normally. I worry I was supposed to and I didn’t. What kind of a parent doesn’t teach their kid to write correctly?

It’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

The house is insanely quiet, save my lightly snoring husband who is blissfully in my sleep coma of last night. I like it when I’m the only one awake and can hear the low and steady buzzing in my ears that I assume is always there but there’s so much noise pollution in my day that I don’t notice it. The peace and quiet is comforting, but mostly it reminds me that all my kids are home, safely tucked in their beds, and we’ve all survived another day without anything awful happening. Then I wonder how long that will continue. I think about the odds that it lasts forever. I check the security alarm again.

It’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

I hear myself sigh loudly. I know the sigh is a surrender that I have no control over much in my life. It’s okay though. That the entire reason I wanted children was so that they could go out on their own and experience life fully. I know that experiencing life fully means they will have moments of joy, moments of disappointment, heartbreaks, so many heartbreaks. They will have scary moments, maybe even dangerous moments. They will laugh endlessly with their friends over brunch. They will sit on pier across from someone they love and be rejected. They will have great adventures. They will be bored and unsatisfied. They will have self-doubt. They will have great triumphs. They will bubble over with excitement. It’s all ahead of them and I have no control over the bumpy parts and won’t be part of the majority of it.

It’s midnight and I find myself wide-awake.

It’s this time of night that I come alive. The joke around here is that if I make it past 10pm, I light up and can’t be stopped. It’s true. I’m a night person trapped in a world I created for myself that demands and rewards well-rested morning people. I wonder about the world of night people. I romanticize it to be creative people, with overactive brains, and complex thoughts mulling over existential issues and challenging the meaning of life. I sit here in my bed with my laptop glowing feeling connected to the invisible energy of the other night people, as if they can sense my presence here in the boring, well-manicured suburban neighborhood in northern Atlanta I find suffocating and dull. I hear them call to me in solidarity that I’m not alone and they say,

It’s after midnight and I find myself wide-awake too, friend.

I tap my fingers lightly on the keyboard. A habit I have when I’m thinking what to write next. I love the sound. The slight rattle beneath my fingertips soothes me. I convince myself that it’s not too late for my dreams. That I have some sort of talent or energy that is important. I smile inwardly and push away thoughts of aging and becoming irrelevant. I swallow back regret and loss that, no matter how hard I try to escape them, haunt me. I give in. I bravely surrender to the ghosts that swirl around my mind and rise each night with the moon and stars. I welcome them. I’ve missed them.

It’s after midnight and I’m suddenly lulled by the rhythmic, gentle snoring to my right, and the buzzing hum in my ears. I’m surprisingly out of things to overthink.

It’s after midnight and I’m turning over my day to the captains of my subconscious to sail me into my dreams. Good night.

8 Comments

  1. Robert Davies on July 22, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I love your blogs . I was googling if 45 was old and came across your hilarious take on life . Cheered me up no end.Anyway I’m off to read the rest of your comedy genius lol

    • M. on August 22, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Thanks so much! Glad the 45 blog made you feel better. To make you feel even better…I’m about to turn 48…so I’m basically 50.

  2. Amy on March 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Am often doing the same thing in your previous CT town…. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

    🙂
    Amy

  3. Patty Hongell on March 8, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I’m glad you blog via email cuz I’ve fallen off of Facebook and don’t want to get back on. You’d be one of the things I’d miss. ( I preached to the choir one too many times and got sick of my own voice. 🙄) But, I was awake at 3:35 this morning, worrying that my kid would skip swimming again and lose his A in gym. Because that would be catastrophic.

  4. Wendy on March 8, 2018 at 9:01 am

    My son, the oldest, is now 19 and his handwriting looks like he is 6. Caveman font, for sure. Somehow, thanks to the keyboard age, he has managed to get to a good college and does well academically. always love your posts….right there with ya, sista!

  5. Kristin on March 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    M,

    It’s like you live inside my head! I too have occasional bouts of insomnia and a daughter (senior in HS) who I still pack lunch – I mean snacks – for because she is such a picky eater. I wonder how she’ll survive in college next year!?!? It all goes by so fast and is monotonous at the same time. I have a wall plaque that says “ raising children is like being pecked to death by a chicken”.

    Keep writing – I love the way you think!

  6. Vi on March 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    It is now 10:56pm over here in France. We’ve just introduced our teenager to the first episode of Twin Peaks. Will Laura Palmer keep us all awake?…

  7. Shelley Keyes on March 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Meredith,

    Except for the “night person” part of your blog, I can completely relate. I have a new appreciation for my mom and how she used to get more upset than me about things that happened – i.e. heartbroken daughter, disappointed daughter, worried daughter, not to mention stay out to 4 a.m. who knows what she’s up to daughter. It’s payback time, baby.

    Shelley

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