When I was seven years old, exhaustion meant Wizard of Oz had been on tv the night before. And, because there were no VCRs or DVDs in those olden times, Mom had let me stay up to watch the whole thing. With popcorn. Of course, I would be exhausted after all those nightmares of flying monkeys, but Mom would tuck me into bed early the next night and I'd sleep the whole thing off.
When I was thirteen years old, exhaustion meant I had spent the night at my girlfriend's house the night before. We'd stayed up til the wee hours trying on each other's clothes, eating Skittles, calling boys we knew and hanging up, because there was no Caller ID in those olden times. My eyes would be puffy and I'd be extra-grumpy with my little brothers and sisters in the morning, but Mom would make me go to bed early and I'd just sleep the whole thing off.
When I was nineteen years old, exhaustion meant midnight movies with my roommates--and, hopefully, some cute boys-- the night before. Or it meant finals. Or pulling a late-night in the library, doing research in books, because there was no World Wide Web in those olden times. I'd, perhaps, nod off a little bit during Geography 110 and need an extra touch of under-eye concealer before my evening study group. But I'd sneak into that bathroom in the McKay building, the one with the "sickbed" in a tiny room separate from the toilets, roll up my jacket, put it under my head and sleep the whole thing off.
When I was twenty-eight years old, exhaustion meant I'd been up all night with my new baby. Rocking, singing, shushing. Feeding on demand, of course, because I had not yet read Babywise in those olden times. Or it meant staying up past bedtime folding a mountain of little white Onesies and burp cloths, because I hadn't yet learned to multi-task and I wanted to hold my precious one every minute he was awake. I'd look a little haggard in the morning, but after a long stroll pushing the Peg Perego, Baby J would be ready for a nap, so I'd tuck him in and then sleep the whole thing off.
Today I am thirty-eight and exhaustion means another late-night date with my washer and dryer, because although I can now multi-task with my eyes closed, the laundry mountains have somehow grown bigger and the days have mysteriously grown shorter. It means getting up at 5:00 am, teaching a lesson and then coming home to start the Breakfast Shift. It means my kids have half-days at school this week, which is truly worse than no school at all. It means filling out a huge pile of paperwork for kindergarten registration. Twice. My eyelids are heavy and my patience is shot. It's only 6:45 pm...do you think it's too soon to try and sleep the whole thing off?