Any given school night.
The teenagers, God bless their weary souls, are ready to call it a day by about 9:30. They have sat in the classroom, practiced on the court/field, and clocked in/out of homework. Their eyes start glazing over and as much as they'd like to finish The Voice, they are not able to make it. Sorry, Adam and Blake. Not even your priceless banter can induce them to remain conscious.
Our eldest, Mr. Responsible-from-birth stretches his lanky body and mumbles, "Love you, Mom," before reaching down and kissing me on the head. Yes, I know. I'm blessed.
"Should I say goodnight to dad?"
My son asks this question not because he doesn't want to kiss his father goodnight. No, it's more because he's not sure if dad has unplugged and is asleep by now. The chances are about 50/50. The children know what I know. Once daddy finally gets still, daddy tends to fall asleep. And no one really wants to chance waking daddy up. Daddy works really hard and is beyond exhausted. Bless him.
I nod my head toward our bedroom, "Go check."
In the meantime, I turn off lights, television, fold blankets, collect the dozen cups/glasses necessary for our family of 4 to function, pile them in the sink, wipe the crumbs off the counter and make the call as to whether or not I cram the remaining dishes in the dishwasher or actually take the time to wash them by hand.
Finally, I wade into the girl's room. She reluctantly unglues from Netflix (Full House. I can't even.), and plugs her device in so it will live to see another day. I brush her still wet, tangled hair back from her precious ever-expressive face. I kiss her forehead and we say prayers. A sweet moment to be cherished.
By this time, the boy has returned from our room and gives me a status on his dad. I nod my head and reach way up to ruffle his hair, since his head now rises 8 inches above mine.
The fortress is now locked and loaded.
I enter our room.
Before I describe what I may/may not see, allow me to share a little history.
Jeromy and I were married as babies and so now have been in this dance for over twenty years. Long time, y'all. Think of us as battle buddies. We can anticipate one another's words, expressions, body language, reactions. Most of the time this is akin to epic mind-reading tricks that blow our children's minds. But there are other moments too—moments when the slightest move sends us off into the land of eye rolling and head shaking.
Needless to say, after over two decades, we are aware of one another's sleeping habits. And the older we get, the more we must adapt. Jeromy, 45 years of age, is losing body heat. He's freezing most of the time, especially when we are in the same room. This is because Amanda, 43 years of age, now houses an internal heater that causes her to throw off every article of anything that might stick to her person. At 25, game on. At 45, he just pulls the covers tighter and looks at me with contempt and resentment.
You see, he's convinced I'm trying to freeze him out in what he affectionally calls the meat locker (aka cryogenic chamber), coupled with the F5 level tornado wind machine and the chunuk helicopter hanging upside down from our ceiling.
This night, I walk and yep, he's still awake—firmly tucked into his space wearing flannel pajamas and a long sleeved t-shirt (In AUGUST. In FLORIDA. Whatever, dude.), covered up by two sheets, three blankets, iPad set up on his lap, and noise canceling headphones attached to his ears.
Insert eye roll.
I adjust the thermostat from 74 degrees to 72 degrees. Take a moment to absorb this little detail y'all. Purely tropical conditions is what I'm saying.
I go through my bedtime rituals, climb into the bed wearing shorts and a t-shirt (Keeping it PG), and begin reading whatever book is on my Kindle.
About an hour goes by. This is when I cut my eyes and do my check in. You see, if the television is on and he is awake, I am not permitted to touch the remote control unless I want to engage in an arm-wrestling/hide and seek session that is by no means foreplay. Therefore, I wait until sleep sounds fill the room. Then, I begin the search for the "clicker" and very, very quietly click. it. off. If he's still attached to devices, he's on his own because I'm simply not risking it. Survival, y'all.
Here's when things have the potential to go badly, though. Jeromy can sleep through most anything except one move I haven't quite been able to transfer into my ninja-wife repertoire. When I settle in, place my Kindle on my nightstand, take my pills (because apparently pills become part of one's post 40 existence), and turn on my side, I am fulling expecting to fall into blissful slumber.
Except—I don't simply turn on my side. Jeromy calls this move my alligator death roll. Allegedly, I turn so violently, I upset his island—as in all devices are ripped from his lap and ears, causing him to wake up in a not so good way. Or, if he is still awake, allow us to interrupt this programming schedule (rockumentaries) with your wife's violent tendencies. His world crumbles like an old Roman city, into a big pile of rubble and debris. Now he is cold and he is not amused.
But then we remember the I Corinthians 13 sign hanging above our wall, kiss, and make up.
Jeromy says, and I quote, "I feel like a newborn child that has been ripped from his mother's womb. The doctor hangs me upside down and slaps my naked butt. I am shocked—mind, spirit, and soul. And you are totally oblivious, uncaring, and unmoved."
He turns his back, I turn my back, we fall asleep. G'night sweetheart, it's time to go.
Then, wake up the next morning for our coffee date, hearts full of love and brains full of words.
Remember when I asked for prayers yesterday? You can add a line and continue.
Married and Moving with Scribbles,
Amanda (and Jeromy)
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.