It’s nap time-and my two year and three year old grand kids are fighting sleep. I on the other hand am working hard to stay awake. It has been years since I slept through the night. Perhaps I can blame it on menopause but in reality it all began when my first son joined the military. My rendezvous with 3 AM started then and has continued on schedule for the last fifteen years. During the day I keep busy and am focused on my many projects and people I care about. But at night…that’s a different story.
Every night at 3 AM I am up, mind racing with thoughts of newscasts I wished I had not watched, or questions I want to ask a deployed son who is out of touch. I think of a mother who is grieving or a wife who is dealing with a terrible loss. My own grandchildrens’ sorrow at missing their daddy will cause me to toss and turn. My prescription? If I cannot fall asleep in 15 minutes I follow my mother’s time honored advice…a mug of hot milk followed by some reading, praying, or even some knitting to calm my spirit and my mind. Then back to bed and hopefully good dreams with no “bad guys”.
There are no secrets in the brain. The fears and worries we don’t show during the day show up at the strangest times. It might be in a movie theater, the grocery store, or in our dreams. I have come to realize that just like tears are good for the soul, a little night reflection can be good to work through the angst that is weighing me down. I can sacrifice a little sleep to throw off some bricks in my backpack and make peace with some anxieties. And on really bad nights-well I can always message a battle buddy or two. That’s what they are for. We understand the monsters of the night that come out from under the bed when you are a military mom.