Ah, 3:00 am, you’ve long been my temperamental companion. For years I sought you out, feeling a kinship with you, as if you could unravel secrets to me that everyone else who slumbered through you missed. I remember nights in my teenage bedroom staring out my window at your starlight; college nights weaving up a sidewalk with you in tow; and now, midlife baby snuggles in a creaking rocking chair with you peeking over my shoulder. How romantic it sounds, this lifelong courtship with you.
But here’s the thing, 3:00 am: it’s not romantic. You’re exhausting. I need you to leave me alone. There’s no other way to say it than to be blunt: it’s time we break up.
At some point–probably that moment when Maya was born and I went from being an expectant mother to just a mother–I know you became jealous of the way you needed to share me with this new, needy bundle of humanity. And so you pinched at her little cheeks and pulled at her eyelids until she cried and roused me and I’d stumble to try and quiet her down. Because, you see, it was also around this time I realized how much I needed and missed the one I’d been taking for granted for far too long: Sleep.
Sleep. Oh, sleep, how I miss you. Why, why did I not see everything you offered me for all those years I spent chasing after the Middle of the Night? You were the reliable slightly balding banker I should have settled down with, but instead I let my attention be stolen by the leather-wearing motorcycle-revving wannabe musician with a hint of facial scruff and a cigarette curling smoke from between a smirky set of lips. And now, here I am, stuck in a rut of motherhood where my arm falls victim to that pins and needles sensation beneath the weight of my toddler’s head every night, while I lay awake listening to her soft snores and her father’s bearlike ones and try not to roll my eyes at the empty promises 3:00 am makes that this nasal symphony will be his ticket to the Big Time. How is it an appendage of mine gets to sleep more than I do?
I think I may be the unwitting side woman of this love triangle, actually. I’m being used like a pawn between both of you when really, you’re meant to be together. Just think of those nights, all four of them in the last eight years, where everyone’s eyes remained closed, and you, 3:00 am, could slide in next to Sleep, and for the first time in years have an uninterrupted discussion with one another while no one else was looking. It felt right, yes? Because it felt right to me not to be involved in it.
So we had a good run, 3:00 am. I’d say at least a 20-year free-fall. But this mama is tired. She’s ready to settle down with the cushy dadbod of Well-Rested, thank you very much. So jump on your bike and motor on out of here, and please, watch out for the sheep. I need to count them.
How does one woman manage to be a full-time mother, teacher, and writer? Barely, that’s how. A high school teacher for over a decade, a mother of two girls ages 7 and 1, and a writer since the time she could create sentences, Lynne never has enough hours in the day, but more than enough to love. Two-time Perry County Poet Laureate and PCCA’s 2017 Educator of the Year, Lynne knows the highest honor is making it through each day of Millennial Motherhood. Find more about Lynne and her work at www.lynnereeder.com and by following her on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter @thepoemreeder.