The Words Are Back


They’re back. A blessing and a curse. I’ve learned with practice to get out of bed and write them down. Otherwise, I just lie there for hours as they pulse behind my eyelids.

It’s 2:23 AM. I should be asleep. One hundred and twenty little people wait for me tomorrow, ready to run, jump, and play outside. Anxious to know if I’ve learned all their names. Try as I might, I haven’t. Once a week just isn’t enough. I still have about 30 to go. It’s always the ones I don’t remember who ask. Always.

The four hours of sleep won’t be enough. I must let out the words and close my eyes again. Maybe the two droppers full of Passionflower tincture will help. The Melatonin is too strong. It leaves me grumpy in the morning.

I used to awaken in the middle of the night years before she was born. I went through a period of what I now accept must’ve been depression. I didn’t know how to escape my cubicle. I felt stuck. I worried I would never discover a job I loved. Life seemed long. My stomach ached and the doctor suggested anxiety. I didn’t believe him.

Now I have too many vocations calling my name. Life feels short. My husband is contemplating a tattoo reminding him to focus. Maybe I need one too. I don’t want to give up my time at home with my daughter. I teach games class at a Waldorf elementary school. I’m attempting to run my own business. I write. I lie awake in bed and contemplate signing up for yoga teacher training. Like I really need something else.

I expect her to summon me back to bed any minute now. “Mommy!” shouted into the darkness. A siren song. She knows when I disappear downstairs to let out the words. At best she gives me 45 minutes. A crib is headed to our house as we speak, on some airplane or truck or train or sitting in some warehouse ready to be picked up. 19 months of mostly co-sleeping and it’s finally time to try something else.

Even so, I wouldn’t have done it differently. It helped me bond with a colicky baby, connecting us in a way that only the warmth of bodies and shared dreams can. The relief of no more screaming and no need to crawl out of bed to nurse. In a way, it saved me for a very long time.

But now, my shoulders hurt from lying on my sides and I’m hopeful extra space will buy us all more rest. Or at least me, since everyone else seems to be asleep around here. However, I know the words will still drum in my head, pulling me downstairs much to the confusion of two sleepy dogs on the couch.

Yes, for better or worse, the words are back.

And, right on cue, I hear her stirring. My time is up.

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13 thoughts on “The Words Are Back

  1. jeffo says:

    It sounds like things are quite busy in your life right now–I hope you’re all well and healthy and happy.

    I count myself fortunate that I rarely wake in the middle of the night with words that need to come out. I can usually go back to sleep, but my problem is, if I don’t write them down right away, they’re gone come morning. Be well!

    • olivia says:

      Yes, quite busy, but mostly in a good way! I could do without the night waking 😉 Although lost words are unfortunate too. Hope you are also well and happy!

  2. kingmidget says:

    Good luck with all of it. I know what it’s like to have too many interests that overfill your time. And to wake up in the middle of the night with the mind at full speed. I wish I knew what the solution was to all of it, but I don’t. I still struggle, particularly with the problem of having too many things going on. I’m not handling it very well these days. Instead of getting anything significant done, I find myself frozen unable to make a choice between all of those things.

    • olivia says:

      Yes, that’s the worst part of too many things to do– not getting anything done. I feel like I move at the speed of a snail, but I can’t seem to give anything up. At least I know I’m not alone in it all 😉 Wishing you a productive end to your week!

  3. What a pleasure to read those words, always so evocative of the moment you are in!

  4. jessicaleah1 says:

    Glad the words are back! So much for the passionflower! I hope the transition from bed to crib goes okay. Also, my shoulders hurt from lying on my sides as well, (from looking down at the baby and nursing, no doubt). If you know of any yoga poses to fix this, let me know! Here’s to a good day. Nice to know that 120 little people don’t mind under-eye circles.

    • olivia says:

      Haha, yes, so much for the passionflower. It didn’t save me that night. In fact, I stayed up until about 6, how terrible. Thankfully the kids didn’t seem to notice. I actually followed the yoga routine in the link a couple times at in seemed to help a bit. Going to get a massage tomorrow, hoping that will also help do the trick! I’m not very confident about the transition from bed to crib, but we’ll never know unless we try. My money is on it being a fixture in her room until we have another kid who ultimately sleeps in our bed. Ha. Hopefully at least by then she’ll be in her own space 😉 Happy Thursday!

    • olivia says:

      Forgot the links!

  5. Dani says:

    So happy you’ll be writing again-you must always do so! I love reading your beautifully descriptive words.

  6. James says:

    You are an amazing writer.

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