At 5 am, my bedroom door opened. Having been a parent for the past almost 20 years now, I became instantly awake.
Sure enough, Maura entered, carrying her favorite white lantern with the battery-operated candle. She glided in, holding the white lantern with its flickering flame out in front of her, as if she was leading a procession of some sort.
I glanced at the time. 5:08 am. Way too early to deal with that yellow ocean creature. “How about we snuggle and go back to sleep?” I suggested as I made room for her in my bed.
Maura placed the lantern on the bedside table and we laid there, fake candle flickering. My goal was to keep as quiet and still as possible and bore her back to sleep. Maura hummed to herself, tried to steal my blanket, tucked both of us in, and after about an hour, fell back to sleep.
Thirty minutes later my morning alarm went off.
A part of me wanted to cry. I had plans for that day. Not big plans, but basic “get stuff done” plans. Go all Konmari on my bedroom. Go to the gym. Drink all the coffee. But instead, I was dealing with broken sleep and a girl who was now passed out next to me, and I was desperately trying to keep asleep.
I thought about canceling my gym appointment. See, twice a week, I meet with a personal trainer, who lets me curse at him while I exercise. I don’t particularly enjoy going to the gym – I mean, I don’t hate it, and luckily, the company is awesome. But I need to do this, because Maura’s getting bigger and stronger, and I’m getting older and weaker and more likely to pull muscles. I have also found that going to the gym lessens the likelihood of pulling those muscles, which is a good thing. Because of Maura, I must live forever, and to live forever, I must make lifestyle changes while I’m still physically healthy (because, despite being in the BMI category of “obese”, I’m actually one of those healthy fat people, with low blood pressure and normal sugar levels and all that. So I should try working to keep it that way, huh?)
But at 6:30 am, the idea of going to the gym was awful. I felt like crap, overtired, a little disorientated because of all the interrupted sleep and trying to figure out if I send Maura to school on time, or let her sleep. I finally chose to let her sleep and sneaked into the bathroom to call the bus depot to let them know not to show up this morning, then crawled back into bed, and finally fell back asleep.
We woke again at almost 9 am. I got Maura off to school, and got myself a large coffee to hug. I was awake, my day had finally been able to start.
And so I went to the gym.
Because I realized something – if I ditched the gym every time Maura upset my daily grind, well, I’d never go. Because Maura is like her parents – not a great believer in schedules. And really, I’m okay with that. I think I’d be more stressed out if she was one of those kids who was a slave to their schedule, so her being more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants type of girl works for us.
But it means I must adjust things at times. My day, my plans, my way of thinking. It’s okay, I’m the grown-up, I understand that it has to be me who adapts as well, if not more so.
It seems like when it comes to motherhood, so many times, we moms put ourselves last, because we have the mindset of “When the kids are grown, then I can do the things I want or need to do.” Which is a bit questionable of a mindset as is. For me? Well, we know that Maura will live with us forever. There is no time when we have an empty nest, the whole “when the kids are grown” thing is mythical to us. And we’re okay with that. In a way, it’s freeing. We’ll never be childless, so we are making up Plan B as we go along.
Which means sometimes, I will be dragging my tired arse to the gym, even though I feel like death and am not quite sure what day it is.