Monday, March 18, 2013

Sleepless in Falls Church

Last night Clementine awoke at 12:30 a.m. Generally, she has a few sips of milk then closes her eyes and falls right back to sleep. But not last night. She laid in my lap for thirty minutes, staring at the ceiling. As I sat there wishing for sleep that would never come, Peter whimpered like a wounded puppy and Sam murmured the words, "....your iPad..." Undoubtedly, they were sharing the same dream.

A few weeks ago, I had to take a class on life-coaching. I have long discriminated against anyone who called themselves a life coach. Many were too young to have accumulated much life experience which made me skeptical of their ability to provide life-shaping advice. In all fairness, I didn't quite understand that a life-coach is not a wizened sage squatting atop a snowy Tibetan peak in nothing more than a loincloth, but a person that helps people solve their own problems by asking a series of open-ended and thought-provoking questions.

I won't say whether or not my skepticism abated but will say that built into the class was a good deal of role play; we were expected to practice our new found life-coaching skills by solving each other's problems. I was not good at role play. See, I hadn't come to class with a revolver loaded with problems in need of solving. Between work and home, my life is too chaotic and frenzied. I don't have time for problems. Problems, the kind that can be smoothed away by life-coaching, are the product of having too much time on your hands, in my estimation, and I don't have the time for deep contemplative thought or introspection.

Except when I am awake in the middle of the night with a sleepless baby, then the only thing I can do is think deeply and contemplatively and introspect.

I won't say what I thought about last night between fighting to stay awake and tracing letters of the Tamil alphabet on a dry erase board in my brain, but midst the daily frustrations life brings it is a blessing to listen to your children sleep. I know this is the most hectic our lives will ever be, in the center of a maelstrom formed by three children all under the age of five spinning in circles around us, but this realization, this contemplative thought cannot occur in the eye of the storm. A sense of perspective only comes in the middle of the night, at a time that really doesn't do you a lot of good. It should come when Clementine is trying to crawl out of her high chair with spaghetti sauce smeared across her lips and cheeks, when Peter is peeing on the toilet seat, stubbornly refusing help with his aim, and Sam is asking for the ten thousandth glass of water of the day.

I would love for a life-coach to be able to give me more hours in the day, freeze time or make a bigger toilet bowl. I would love to stay up late and listen to my children sleep, but they rise too early for me to risk staying up that late. These are the problems I need solved. Until such a point that a life-coach can do these things, I'd rather climb a mountain.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I laughed myself silly reading this. Well written Paul. So clever.