While I was putting Cooper down tonight, my body was tugging on me and whispering, “sleep, sleep.” I thought long and hard about those words. It’s been a long day.
I woke up this morning and worked on a special project before 6:00 a.m. My body creaked, “sleep, sleep.” I fed the dogs and the horses. I fed Cooper and took him to the sitter. As I drove away, my eyes closed and lingered there a little longer than usual. The words knocked from within, “sleep, sleep.”
I went to work and had no time to think about anything. Technical difficulties grouped with my uneasy hand made for an exceptionally crazy day. I picked my baby up from the sitter at 7:45 p.m. Even throughout his bath time giggles, I heard an underlying, “sleep, sleep.”
After stealing my last kiss of the night and putting him down in his crib, sleep never called. As I changed into my workout clothes, I heard no echo of those earlier sounds. After sweating it out for 45 minutes, sleep had escaped me. I closed my eyes. I saw my husband and longed for his warmth beside me in the bed.
There have been no calls or texts from her. She does not care about my feelings or my dreams. She is a tricky little creature. How long will she make me wait?
I settle in and wait. I wait and think. I wait and worry. I make a mental note of everything I still have left to do before the week ends. Slowly she creeps over me. She makes my eyes heavy and my breathing deep. She fills the room with her sweet serenade, “sleep, sleep.” And then, I do.
It’s not what you think. It’s never what you think. I don’t pretend to know everything. I don’t want to pretend to know anything. I make mistakes. I am fine with it. I will say it again, I make mistakes. If there is anything I can’t stand, it’s negative energy. I feel it pulsating through me. I feel it working into my veins and joints. It’s seeping into the smallest nooks of my being. I want to push it out. I want to dig deep into my bones. I want to suck the poisonous venom from my skin. I feel the weight of the universe on my back. It’s coming up in my throat. It’s strangling me from within. I will not give into this darkness. I will not let it win. The days of laying low while the storm brews beneath me are over. I will not yield to the feelings that are stacked against me. I will claw from the deepest parts of this grungy grave. I will dig the whites of my cuticles into that last ounce of daylight I see peaking from above. I will pull it to me with the force of a thousand shackled slaves on one of those ships adrift in the sea. You can’t win. You can’t beat me. I will show you that my life is worth the fight. I will show you that your hooded, shady ways are no match for me. Take a seat. Take a back seat. My new attitude has arrived. You are nothing.
It will be a year this week that my husband has been working in Oklahoma. Most days are good. Then, every once in a while, I feel empty. I try so hard not to get down about it. I don’t want my sadness to be evident to Cooper.
I remember the day last year when he called me at work to tell me he got the job. It was a Friday and I had just came back from helping a client put gas in their car (I worked for Child Protective Services). I was six months pregnant. When he called me Friday, he told me he had to be in Oklahoma Sunday. I remember I walked over and shut my office door. After a few minutes of us not saying much, we hung up the phone. I was angry, confused and hurt. I realize that this seems very selfish. Many people would be thankful that their husband could find a job. It shouldn’t matter where it was located. Some would even say that I should have expected it. He was working in Ohio on a pipeline when I met him. Still, I did the thing. I cried. I felt sorry for myself and our unborn baby. I was so sad, lonely and just unsure. I remember that I called my supervisor and she told me to go home.
That weekend, I held my husband a little longer in our embraces. I tried hard not to let him see me cry. When Sunday came around and the travel trailer was packed up and hooked up to his truck, I watched him drive away. I cried for hours. This was not it. This was not how I pictured our life. This was not what I had in mind that morning we first saw the positive pregnancy test.
From that day forward, it has been nothing short of a challenge. I worked and mowed the grass. At night we would talk on the phone. I would hear about all his work drama. A new pipeline means learning new names. It means hearing how things play out. It’s about seeing who cuts it and who doesn’t. It’s never a dull moment. I often joke with Ben that some pipeliners are worse than women.
Thankfully, when the time came, he was able to be home when Cooper was born.
This year has been a learning experience. I am thankful to The Lord for helping us get through it. There are so many times when I would talk to him because I couldn’t talk to anyone else. I am thankful for all my wonderful friends and family who have helped me get through the rough patches, trust me, there have been plenty. I am thankful for my husband. Yes, it’s been a rough year. It’s hard to have a marriage where you see each other once a month if you are lucky. It’s hard to communicate mostly through sleep laced phone calls at night. It’s hard to be away from your kids. My husband is a hard worker. He loves us with all his heart and he has given up so many things to make sure we are taken care of in this life. I love him and appreciate him more with every passing day.
I distinctly remember when the perspective of my own life changed. It was the strangest thing. I think I was about 10 years old. I had been sick and I had been home from school a few days. Since both my parents worked, I was at my grandma’s house. I remember it like it just happened. I was standing in my grandmother’s living room. I remember thinking, “nothing looks the same anymore.” I looked around the living room and saw everything for the first time. Everything was exactly the same as it had been 5 minutes before, but I was seeing it completely different. What was happening to me? The floor was still the floor. The furniture was the same. Nothing in the room had changed. It was like I took a pair of glasses off that I had no idea I had been wearing.
What happened to me that day? Was that my innocence slipping away? Was that some chemical imbalance that was fixing itself? Was there some invisible person shaking me out of a fog?
I also wonder now if maybe I was just having a fit of fever. Just kidding, I think. I find myself thinking about that day often. How many of these experiences does one person have in their lifetime? I want to know if I am going to wake up one day and think everything looks different again?
It could also be possible that we go through life and our perspective is constantly changing now. Maybe the 10 year-old sick me was just becoming aware that things change often. Or, maybe my memories are constantly changing. Or maybe there was a darker trigger for my change in perspective. Regardless, today I feel the same as yesterday. I’m just tired, with dirtier hair and feverish thoughts.