Eight Consecutive Hours

In many ways, it was a glorious weekend. Andy may disagree, but I really am easy to please. It's not hard to please when your expectations are incredibly low.

I have been deprived of many things over the last year and a half; nothing too big or horrible. Just the simple things that make life sweet. Like alcohol, caffeine, time to myself and most importantly, sleep.

Andy says that I think of myself as a martyr but he is wrong. As a parent, I do not feel selfless. I feel incredibly selfish. I decided to have children and it is my responsibility to take care of them. The job is 24/7 and some days I get really sick of being responsible and I want to run away. I'm mad at myself for arguing with Andy each day about our schedules and for constantly negotiating for time. Some days I'm only going through the motions of parenting while my mind is longing to be somewhere else, whether it's on the beach or out on a long run. I start to feel resentful when a friend calls and wants to go shopping and I can't because the kids are sick or Andy is working or we have no money because every extra penny pays for daycare. When the days are long, and the nights are longer, I lose sight of the big picture.

Luckily for me, I have four parents. Getting married meant that I adopted two more people to watch out for me and my well being. Sure, if I weren't the wife of their son and the mother of their grandchildren, Andy's parents wouldn't be invested in me but I do like to think that over the years my charm and sense of humor has won them over and that helping me out isn't just a favor for Andy.

Our parents are great. Whether it's their willingness to pick up the phone when we call and offer medical advice or simply listen when we've had a bad day and am at our wit's end with the girls, our moms and dads are always there when we need them. They wire us money and order us to buy something special for ourselves, send care packages and come never show up at our house without bags of groceries and household supplies.

This weekend was a double whammy with an overnight visit from my mom and dad on Saturday book ended by dinner with Andy's parents on Friday and Sunday. Over those three days I was totally spoiled with a meal and a glass of wine at a nice restaurant, home cooked breakfasts and dinners (with much to spare and freeze) time to myself to exercise and shower and best of all- sleep.

I don't need a fancy hotel. I don't even need a hotel at all. Just give me a warm, soft bed and eight consecutive hours. On Friday night, Andy's parents switched houses with us. It was the first time both of us were away from the kids. We had no TV and no computers. I woke up before the sun was up but forced myself to drift back to sleep. When I awoke again the sun was up and I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the clock- it was 8 a.m. I felt like a crazy teenager, wasting half of the day in bed. For the first time in a very, very, very long time, I felt normal. I felt human. No, I felt super human. I'd forgotten what it feels like to be well rested. I had energy. I laughed a little more, breathed a little deeper. I enjoyed being with the kids more and cared less about their whining and temper tantrums.

I've been given many beautiful gifts but this was the best gift I've received in a long time. Uninterrupted sleep; it felt decadent. It gave me back the big picture.

Being a parent is a 24/7 job and, if our parents are any indication, it's a job that never ends. Thanks to our moms and dads for taking care of us throughout life- when we are diaper wearers and diaper changers.

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