I know the moon

I know the moon, and the moon knows me

God bless the moon, and God bless me

Moms know the moon. The moon is their constant companion for the first few years of their child’s life. I remember as a young mom how I would sit in the glider in my baby’s room, and how I would dread that moon. Seeing the moon meant that, like so many nights before, I was the only one awake, the only one hearing the sound of the train as it passed a few miles away. It was the knowledge that no one else was coming, to take the sleepless baby and rock her till she dozed.

There’s a loneliness inherent in being a mom, the loneliness of knowing that you are solely responsible, in some undefined way. Even if you have a loving partner in crime, the expression of love for that partner may just be letting them sleep, facing the wierd 2am visions alone.

So when the tiny cries of “Momma” invade our dreams, it’s with a learned consciousness of this loneliness. Just like Pavlov’s dog, a mom’s body reacts to the cries by flooding the system with endorphines, raising the heart rate and tossing her into an alert state. And the moon is witness to the speed with which she flies to her offspring’s side.

I confess: I hate it, the way my body reacts to the crying child. No deniability for me; I am instantly awake, usually unable to fall back to sleep. Undoubtedly it’s some instinctive mechanism. Undoubtedly I should thank God that they need me, and that I am able to provide the comfort they need to lay their heads back down in peace. Undoubtedly.

Like the moon, I’m witness to many a sleepless night. I know their sounds, these little restless alarm clocks clothed in cuteness. I know the minute cough that precedes the vomit. I know the snuffling of the onset of fever. And these sounds have propelled me into a realization that I am inherently selfish, inherently jealous of those hours of sleep. Motherhood does that; it convinces you of your self-absorption in a way no other job can.

We shall not sleep; but we shall all be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51)

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4 Responses to I know the moon

  1. badmommymoments says:

    though i too dreaded the moon shifts, one of my favorite memories happened on one of those nights. my newborn refused to sleep, so i rocked her in the glider long after she finished nursing. vivaldi played softly next to us. the breeze filtered through the sheers. i was bitter and tired and past exhaustion.

    and then the sun rose.

    and it was just the two of us awake, alone, in a room turning pink with morning. and i felt an amazing peace.

    i still get teary-eyed remembering the overwhelming emotions of that day. a lingering reminder that something beautiful always fills in the gap when part of our selfishness dies.

  2. faemom says:

    On a lighter note: Some Barenaked Ladies-
    Who needs sleep
    Well you’re never gonna get it.
    Who needs sleep
    Tell me, what’s that for?

    Sometimes I wish my husband would hear it. I remember the sleepless nights of trying to teach my eldest he was NOT coming into our bed again. Those nights sucked.

  3. Emily says:

    oh yes. i, too, know the moon.

  4. Mary-LUE says:

    Oh yes. I know those moon-filled nights. Fortunately, my time of staying up with my children is rare now. Unfortunately, I am old enough that hormones, stress, and other what not means I am still up with the moon, alone.

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