I look at the list of assignments my daughter has, and I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to get done for the day. Blame it on the pandemic, on working from home, on the kids having a hard time doing school on the computer, but the list is long today because we didn’t get much done the last few days. Each week has brought new changes to the way my children learn from their teachers, turn in work, or get assessed. There are more platforms than I can keep count of, let alone logins and passwords for each one and for each kid. I’m someone who heavily relies on my internet browser to save my passwords, so with everything going on, even the littlest thing feels like too much.
Suffice it to say, I’m struggling. My kids are struggling. Our attitudes have been prickly, our patience on its last drops, and our grief comes out in meanness toward one another and nightmare-filled sleep.
I have dreams about my teeth falling out or the world coming to an end. I dream about a real life day where I get everything on my to-do list done, only to wake up tired with everything still on the list unchecked and looming heavy over my head. The night doesn’t guarantee rest, and it’s not just me.
My son has started screaming at night again. He hides under the blankets because he’s scared of burglars coming to our house — his imagination as wild and apocalyptic as mine. But hiding under the blanket only makes his body overheat, which then brings new nightmares to his little mind.
He cries out in fear then anger that it’s too hot, and too often, I can’t hold back my anger toward him. It’s a vicious cycle, and every night is a game of nightmare roulette. Will we get enough sleep or will we be woken up every couple of hours to shouts of “Mommyyyy!”? My husband and I wonder if this will ever end or if this is our lot in parenting life.
But when sanity holds sway and compassion fills my heart, I cradle my son and wipe away his tears and sweat. I tell him to take deep breaths, and together we breathe in and out — his head against my chest listening to my heart, our bodies in sync with our breaths. I feel his tense body relax, and we enter together into the presence of God. I pray for peace over his body, his mind, and soul. I pray for God to meet him in his dreams — that even there, he would experience God’s strong love for him. I pray for his thoughts to be filled with good, lovely, pure things, and that we’d be able to sleep uninterrupted till the morning.
I lay him down on his bed and flip his pillow to find a cooler side. I rub his back and tell him I love him, that God loves him, and I retreat back to my room with flickering hope that it won’t happen again in a couple of hours.
I lie in bed weary, but my mind turns toward tomorrow. I think about what school will be like, how many more assignments we’ll be behind in, and then I give up — there’s nothing that thinking and worrying can do for me.
I pray the same prayer over myself as I did for my son, and I take deep breaths with my palms open and my eyes closed.
We don’t know when things will start to feel normal, and it may be that things will keep evolving and we’ll have to keep adjusting. But our hope isn’t attached to what was or what will be. Our hope is in the One who’s with us here and now — through sleepless nights and overwhelming days. He, who is unseen, sees us in all our weariness and grief. He holds us and our children close, speaks words of love over us, and tells us to rest in His embrace.
Let these words speak life to you when everything has become too much and rest eludes you: Deep breaths and peace for a new day tomorrow.
Our hope isn’t attached to what was or what will be. Our hope is in the One who’s with us here and now -- through sleepless nights and overwhelming days. -@gracepcho: Click To Tweet