Alarm Assault

This morning I was assaulted in my sleep. The sounds from my alarm clock beat at my ears, my skull, my everything. It hurt waking up. So much so that as I sat up in bed and ripped open a giant yawn, I was met with a clanking chorus of cracking bones starting in my jaw and ricocheting all the way down through my hips.

There are so many ways to wake up. Usually I find myself embattled with a bed and sheets that have turned into a mess of molasses. It takes every ounce to pull myself upward and outward. Although rare, there have been occasions where it is as if I was ready for the alarm. And I wake up smartly, albeit somewhat reluctantly. “Of course my alarm is going off,” I think as I pop open my eyes. “It’s time to wake up!” And simple as that, I’m up and efficient and moving decisively, precisely.

But not today. And not yesterday. Not in a long time really. This morning, though, was the worst kind because there’s no way around it, I woke up pretty angry and frustrated. I tried to shake it loose. I tried to drown it in coffee. I tried to shift into the efficient pattern I’ve recently developed.

But I wasn’t having it.

More importantly, neither were the kids.

Wednesday mornings are the worst.

At some point in the hazy early morning as the sleep fog lifts from their heads, they realize it’s Wednesday. They realize it’s the day they go with Daddy.

For my Eldest, it’s no problem. He looks forward to it. He likes the fact there’s a television in their bedroom. He likes to see his Dad.

Not so much the younger two. They hate Wednesdays and they let me know it.

Daughter nibbled at her toast and sipped at her egg nog for forty-five minutes this morning. She didn’t even finish but I had to put an end to it. Baby followed in her footsteps, poking at his toast for about forty minutes.

Baby lost his shoe. Everyone was in la la land. And I was angry and frustrated and angry that I was angry.

After all, this is my fault isn’t it?

If I was better prepared, this kind of lunacy wouldn’t happen in the mornings. If I made sure all of the uniforms were laid out, right down to their shoes, the night before, there wouldn’t be any surprises. If the PE bags were packed and the ballet bag was ready…

But it’s not my habit. Recently I just got into the knack of prepping the lunches the night before. Now I have to throw this into the mix too.

And I’m already staying up way too late wrapping presents, addressing cards, folding laundry, putting away dishes, preparing the lunches, trying to remember if anything is needed the next day, picking up stray and random items, trying to keep a lid on the chaos. And watching TV.

The TV thing can’t be helped. The Boyfriend is a TV Fiend. He is kind enough to put off clicking it on until the kids are tucked away in bed but click it on he does. And I manage to get sucked in over and over again into all of these crime dramas that are breeding like rabbits. I get lured into the sitcoms because I’m desperate for a chuckle.

Of course, I watch it while doing the things I need to be doing but I know it slows me down. I know I’d finish a lot faster if it wasn’t on. I know I’d probably even put off doing some things in favor of a good night’s sleep. But I need to find out if they find the kid on time, or if they save the school bus, or how the killer is connected to the victim, or exactly how he met their mother. And then the evening news comes roaring on and I am shocked.

“What!? The news!? But that means it’s ELEVEN. How in the Underworld is it ELEVEN already!? I haven’t even showered. And by the love of Zeus, I have been so sleep-deprived, I swore I was going to get eight hours this time, I swore it. But now I can’t because it’s already ELEVEN and I have to be up at SIX and there is still STUFF TO DO. And Oh my god what is wrong with this world? How does somebody do something so horrible as that? It’s ELEVEN FIFTEEN. And I’m still here not showering, watching the world burn instead.”

This time of year.

It’s so difficult. There is so much to do, to think about, to stay on top of, to plan for. There are Christmas shows and Secret Santas. There are Christmas cards and holiday parties. There are big gifts and little gifts and medium gifts.

And this year, there’s a road trip to Virginia right at the end of it all nagging at me, taunting me, reminding me, “You’re not prepared for a Virginia winter, not even close.”

The only consolation is that despite the fact I feel completely overwhelmed, busy, and even frantic, I feel like I’m ahead of the curve.

I have presents wrapped under the tree. A lot! My list is practically complete. I sent out my first batch of cards this morning. I’ve even begun to prepare for Virginia with a couple of purchases here and there, rummaging through closets, and pulling things my mother had kept with my grandmother that were ours from that time in our lives we were in North Carolina a lot, or so it seemed.

The days keep hurtling past and somehow I’ve been ready for them. By the skin of my teeth, it’s felt like, but at least nothing has gone forgotten. Not that I’m aware of. Check, check, and check have filled my lists. The problem is, the list keeps growing.

What about you? Crazy? Calm? Brisk? What’s in your future this holiday season? Tell me, does it end?


4 thoughts on “Alarm Assault

  1. As you’ve found, not getting to sleep early enough becomes a vicious cycle. Eventually something has to give, though, and you’ll get it right. My guy likes to watch TV at night, too. But over many years in this body I’ve learned that I need to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night (8 or even 9 is better), so I routinely go to bed before he does. Yeah, it’s not ideal to be missing some cuddle time on the couch or to have to cut short time to work on chores, but I need that sleep! Without it, I wouldn’t be able to cuddle or complete chores at all.

    My holiday planning has been pretty calm. I’ve made a lot of food gifts over the past year and just have a two more to finish up. I expect to find time to make them before Christmas, so all will be well.

    • I have a sort of phobia about going to bed alone. This became a huge problem in my previous marriage. Also, my parents never go to bed without each other and they’ve been married over 30 years. So I don’t know. I’d rather not do that yet. I’m not ready to.

      The only food item I’m planning on this year is making melted snowman cookies with the kiddos this weekend. And I was thinking about cupcakes again.

  2. I don’t know if this is helpful (or simply truthful), but… for me, it stayed crazy and exhausting for many years. Too many years. Partly because there were almost no breaks, and when there were, I was so busy trying to make a buck I never looked up. Or rarely.

    When they’re a little older, in some ways, it is easier. The worries change of course, but they’re more self-sufficient and some of the tedious details no longer need to be tended to. And making them responsible for each other in some ways can teach them important lessons, and also be a useful tactic to reduce your load.

    Still, there’s a reason that families are families – one person alone may manage to raise children, but it isn’t ideal. It’s far from ideal. It takes help, many inputs, and also – its joys are something most of us would prefer to share.

    Holiday season was typically frantic (in fact I was frantically buying a tree this morning – the first time I’ve ever done this alone). At the same time, how can we imagine our lives without our children? The quiet that comes when they fly the nest seems startling. For the single or solo parent (especially one sleep-deprived or financially challenged), the crazy years seem long. There’s no two ways about it.

    That said, there is nothing more precious to me in this world than the two little boys I have raised, and nothing I will cherish more than their faces when they come walking through the door in a few days – both, at last, home from college.

    • I sort of expect that. I think next year will be better and 2013 better still but one never knows so I’m not going to my hang hopes on any particular year either.

      That saying, It takes a village to raise a child, sure resonates with a single parent.


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