Dear Crazy Lady,

The hour between 4 am and 5 am has become my nemesis. Regardless of when I put my darlings to bed the night before, they have woken up during that magical hour. FOR THE PAST EIGHT DAYS IN A ROW.

We have reached DEFCON 1 here people. And I’d like to have a good heart to heart with whoever installed bamboo floors in my bedroom. There’s no alarm clock quite like the pitter patter of little feet on a floor that magically makes it sound like there are three elephants in the room.

It didn’t matter that we had spent one entire day playing in the water on the surface of the sun (aka: Redding). We were visiting family for a birthday, and “camping” out in the 5th wheel beside the main house, and there was my oldest darling, peeking at me along with the sun and the heat the following morning at 5 am. I’m not sure if the sun is brighter in Northern Cali or what, but she was convinced I was lying when I told her that it was the middle of the night. Okay, so maybe I was exaggerating . . .

They take turns, my darlings. I’m starting to believe there might be a conspiracy. Are they having late-night meeting in their beds, a little game of paper-rock-scissors to decide who gets to wake Mama up? I can almost hear my oldest making plans with my middle child. Make sure you wait until 4:59, just to shake things up… 

This morning, it was my baby boy’s turn. I tiptoed through the house, amazed at the silence. Had the others slept through their newly tuned alarm clocks? I peeked in their rooms. Silence. Well, aside from that miserable racket from the bird outside. Seriously, bird?!

When I opened my eyes again, my middle darling was standing mere inches from my face staring me down. I suspect the dirty look was because there was a baby in my bed. She didn’t want to talk about it, and I wasn’t at my finest because, again, it was between 4 and 5 am.

I washed all the towels today so I could feel productive. I even unloaded the dishwasher and threw some food into the crockpot (that we will not be eating for dinner). But I have to say, the best part of my day, was this afternoon. I sat outside on a blanket (that has been out there for weeks) and fed baby boy. My girls played in the wading pool, birds chirped and bees buzzed and my baby cooed. It was two hours of wonder.

They crashed soon after, feeling the effects of their late-night mommy conspiracy meetings. Now I’m on the track to keep them awake a while longer because I’m still convinced that this is just a phase.

But I’m thankful for today. Just like everyday. God gives me a moment, sometimes several, to bring my tired eyes back into focus. These two hours outside on a blanket with my littles was my moment for today.

Why am I telling you this? I’m not. I’m telling myself. This is a reminder to the woman that will have to pry her eyes open sometime between 4 amd 5 am tomorrow morning, and summon compassion and tenderness and patience to help a darling through something.  I’m too cold, I’m too hot, my loose tooth hurts, my eyeball hurts, I can’t feel my pinky toe, my elbow is asleep, I’m afraid of the AC and of that terrible noise outside . . . Seriously, bird?!!

One thing is the same, whether it’s 4 am or 5:29 pm, I am thankful. I love them. I love the man beside me who shows me meausres of grace and mercy I didn’t know were possible, I love the baby in my arms who is trying his darndest to say “Mama” (I’m sure of it) , I love the middle darling with the tenderest of hearts, and I love the oldest darling who sees the world like no one else has ever seen it.

And so, I raise my Starbucks hazelnut latte and say to all the other mamas out there,

Cheers. Solidarity. We can do this. And here’s to you, 4 am, until we meet again.

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