Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exhaustion...Through the Ages

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?

23 comments:

♥Shally said...

These days, if I could go to bed at 7:00 every night I would!!

Annie said...

It's absolutely not too early. Put those kids (and you) to bed.

I love your posts, Gabi. It was so great to see you in person last week: you made my month!

And I totally agree: half days are worse than no school at all.

Rochelleht said...

Ah, I knew you were a Peg girl!

The Miller Family said...

I love the way you write! Your posts are some of the best! Here's to hoping you and your washer and dryer are on a break for tonight!

Jeanelle said...

Tired for me is spending last night trying to excite and energize teenaged girls and failing miserably and then having to go to yet another camp meeting in 20 minutes. Tired is making it through an utterly exhausting day at work but successfully avoiding swearing at or throwing things at a jerk in my office. Tired is not once this week going to bed before 11 PM and then sleeping fitfully because I have so much on my mind.

My couch is open - come over and I'll load you up with blankets, the remote and a bowl of ice cream.

Heather Carson said...

Amen to that!

diane said...

When you are 48 you'll be exhausted from the night sweats that woke you in the middle of the night and then you couldn't fall back to sleep...not that I know anything about that.

the wrath of khandrea said...

you and diane. honestly. never a dull moment with the two of you around.

do you ever grow tired of me saying how exceptionally clever your posts are? i love them. i do. you are a genius.

Bridget said...

I loved this. Never would have thought of it this way, but it is so interesting to think of life in stages of what exhaustion means. I hope you can get to bed sooner and your to do lists grow shorter.

Nortorious said...

Oh man, is this my future? Because I'm 28 and it sure is my present. Thankfully they will never call me to teach seminary.
Loved this post.

Lindsey said...

No, it's not. Sleep away sleeping beauty!

Melissa-Mc said...

Being a mom is just exhausting, period. My last post was about how tired I always feel.

You are amazing to throw early morning seminary into it all.

Lauren in GA said...

I am 38 too, and man oh, man this post spoke to me on every level. I remember the olden times well. We also got to stay up to watch the Sound of Music once a year, too. I remember that and the Wizard of Oz...feeling so excited that I got to stay up so late.

Ah, life before caller I.D....I remember it well...the thrill of the hang up...*giggle* *giggle*.

You are such a splendid writer.

martha corinna said...

I admire and am in awe of all you do. It's so busy being the YW president, but it is fairly easy for me to have a good attitude Sunday at 9am, Tuesday at 7pm, Wed at 7pm and on the phone and behind a computer screen. I would have a really difficult time having a good attitude about my calling at 5am every morning. I think about your example all the time. It has helped me to be somewhat cheerful about very early Sunday morning meetings. I'm glad that I know you.

I still have nightmares about flying monkeys.

Travelin'Oma said...

I am old (see my post) so I have no seminary, no mountains of laundry, no breakfast shift . . . no excuse. I can go to bed whenever I want and sleep in every morning.

But now I can't sleep! I lay awake until 3am and then wake up at 7. I need a nap all day long, but I lay and listen to my heart race, and finally get back up. The only time I sleep well is during church!

calibosmom said...

SLEEP AWAY!!! You have the support of millions of tired mothers behind you.

Hazen5 said...

This post brought back some exhaustion memories! I miss the good ol' days!

Lisa-Marie said...

I can just imagine you rolled up in the sick room in the Mckay. What a great image! They do have similar rooms to that at church. I bet you could get a nice nap there!I'll make you a deal... I sneak in this Sunday, if you do! (Take one of Em's dolls and hide it in a blanket. No one will be any wiser that it isn't the real thing.)Three hours to sleep it off sounds nice! (Now, I just need to get a sub for singing time. Ugh. More exhaustion!)

Amanda D said...

I love this post. You nailed everything on the head! And there is nothing wrong with going to bed and 7, just take a book and put it by you then you can tell people you fell asleep reading!

Christie said...

I think it's never to early to try and sleep it off. Put the kiddos in bed and tuck yourself in. Tell them it's daylight savings again and that's why it's so light out at night.

And yes, half days are the worst ever.

Meg said...

Gab Gab Gabi. You have a gift. What a great post. It made me relive all those periods and who new anyone used that sick bed in the MCkay building. LOL.

I feel your pain...or in this case. Your need for sleep.

Ilene said...

Ah, so true.

I have nothing to add because I am there with you.

My college late nights were full of dates with a pan of brownies and some movie version of a Jane Austen hero. I don't have to wonder why I didn't meet my husband at BYU. I dated far more fictitious men than real.

wenderful said...

So relatable and so true. You said it well. Hope your laundry is done and your nap was taken.

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