Just Write? Or maybe Just Sleep

Last night Jordan came to the top of the stairs and mentioned that he didn’t have any clean clothes to wear the following day. I glanced at the mounds of laundry now cascading out of my laundry room and into the kitchen and sighed. I was hardly surprised. It’s hard to do laundry one handed and since so much of my time is spent holding or nursing or changing a baby, I don’t have two free hands very often. I told Jordan I would make sure he had something clean to wear, even though I knew it meant I would be awake for at least another two hours, sorting, then washing, then finally tossing into the dryer.

But then, maybe two hours wouldn’t be such a bad thing. The baby was sleeping, recently fed and settled. Was it possible that I would have two full hours where I quite legitimately needed to be awake, night time hours that I could justifiably dedicate to something other than sleep? Was it possible that I could sit down and actually do a little bit of writing? I felt lighter just with the thought of it. I hurried through my evening routine, checking on the kids, washing my face, brushing my teeth, all while thinking about the characters in my current work in progress. I longed to find them, to reconnect, to make something more of their story. I rushed to the laundry room, sorting through until I found a pair of Jordan’s shorts, then cursed when I realized that there were wet clothes in the dryer, AND in the washing machine. But no matter. More time to write, yes? I restarted the dryer, then moved to the couch where I nudged the dog out of the way and settled comfortably onto the middle cushion, the one with the hole in the back that makes you feel like you are surrounded on all sides by couch. I opened up my laptop, my fingers itching to write. It was exciting to connect with the other me–the me that writes novels even though with six children there is so little time and even less energy, especially when one of those children is only four weeks old and still wants and needs so much.

And then it hit me. I was stationary for the first time in hours. It only took a moment for my body to remember how tired I really was. Even the strongest desire to write can’t compete with a nursing mother’s need to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. The laundry… my characters… Jordan’s need for clean shorts…

The baby woke me up at 2 AM. My fingers were still positioned on the keyboard, my head tilted awkwardly onto the couch cushion behind me. I’d been sleeping for three hours.

Sitting up. Ready to write. Dead asleep.

I closed the laptop with a weary sigh and went to get the baby. His tiny fists were clenched, his face red as he reminded me to hurry. He was hungry and in case I’d forgotten, I was the only one who could do something about it. I snuggled him close and stroked his cheek as he started to nurse. He grunted once, then twice, then sighed as the milk started to flow. He was content.

And me? I was content too.

3 thoughts on “Just Write? Or maybe Just Sleep

  1. Tobi says:

    By 9:30 I am toast. I usually try to read a little before bed. But after 10 minutes of lying in bed my eye lids feel like they are made of iron. I just can't keep them open anymore. I'm very curious though. Did you finish the laundry? =)

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