Wow. How’s it going, y’all? I dunno about you guys, but I’m recovering from Father’s Day, which involved an immersion into the depths of Indiana where I saw mythical creatures like the drunken hillbilly auto enthusiast duo, the extremely fat hick family that just chugged vodka and yelled at each other, the obesely flirtatious liquor store clerklet and the legendary 24 oz tallboy can of Mountain Dew. And, because my wife is such a spectacular specimen of human, she let me sleep in both mornings over the weekend, which is truly the pinnacle of human kindness as far as inter-parent favors go, and was the highlight of my weekend and perhaps even my 2012 so far.
Before I had kids I used to say stupid, shortsighted things that I knew for a fact to be true. One of these things was this: “I don’t really need much sleep.” This is an asinine conclusion that I drew based on the fact that no matter how late I stayed up, I’d always wake up pretty early, even if I didn’t have to. So, say I’m out until 4am. I’m still up by 930, bright eyed and bushy tailed. That’s only 5.5 hours of sleep, and I’m cool. Therefore, I don’t need a lot of sleep to get by. That’s pretty logical, right? Right.
Well, turns out that’s total bullshit. The big, huge, can’t-be-overstated difference about sleep before you have kids vs. sleep once you have kids is that it’s no longer on your terms at all. When I used to pop up, wide awake at 930, that was because that was when my body was done sleeping. When I woke up this morning at 615, it was because there was a person screaming at me. These are, it turns out, extremely different ways to wake up. In fact, the whole thing, my entire relationship with sleep was predicated on such a whimsical, bullshit notion centered around this bubble of autonomy I existed in before I had kids (and when I played in a band for a living and therefore was able to nap all day, never punching a clock or showering or shaving in the morning if I didn’t want to) that to look back on it now, it’s maddening. “I don’t need a lot of sleep” I used to say. “Yeah, as long as it happens exactly when you want it, is uninterrupted and not tethered in any way to any sort of schedule. Who the fuck can’t sleep like that? Besides, 930? I’d give my dick to sleep in until 930 just ONE DAY a week. You think that’s EARLY?!?!?!?!? Try waking up with a 1 year old who’s ready to party at 445. Now try doing that every day for the rest of your life. ‘don’t need sleep.’ Fuck you. Fuck you so completely,” the new me would respond.
So yeah. The hours of sleep suck. My kids are actually really good and get up between 6 and 8 every day, but my boy has a friend who is four who has always woken up every day between 430 and 5. That means, for those of you without children, (and I don’t mean to be pedantic here, but it’s kind of hard to really truly understand if you don’t live it) that for almost half a decade now, EVERY DAY they wake up at some ungodly hour and it never, EVER will stop. You know how you can be exhausted as shit on a Friday, but you persevere because you know that even though you’ve been getting up at 4 to get to work for the past week, tomorrow you’ll be able to just sleep in as late as you want? That shit doesn’t happen with kids. They don’t give you weekends. The days that you most desperately need to sleep in? Go fuck yourself because you’re waking up extra early.
This is, hands down, the worst part of parenting. There are myriad annoyances, like the fact that your old lady wants no part of your wiener any more and your spare time is whittled away to absolutely nothing and you eat shitty mac and cheese every day and can’t get to the gym and you start to look like shit because you don’t care anymore and every time you sit down to do anything someone starts crying and all your stuff gets gleefully destroyed and your money just evaporates into steam like so many innocent children and geezers near the site of a nuclear blast, but fuck. That’s all fine and dandy if you can deal with it after a full, restful night of sleep. But the constant, threadbare exhaustion, the endless, no-relief-in-sight, pig-fuckingly debilitating exhaustion that makes all that other stuff completely unbearable. And here’s the worst part:
Once you have this person sleeping in your house, you’ll never be able to sleep soundly again. Every peep and sigh will wake you up and send you running and silence is twice as scary. You’ll constantly wake up and check the clock to try and anticipate how much sleep you can still squeeze in. You will try to get yourself psyched up to pass out and sleep (which is fundamentally impossible) and if you have even the vaguest nighttime anxiety issues, you’ll find that they multiply like horny Chinese teenagers at an ecstasy-and-underpants party once your children come along. I used to look forward to waking up and doing stuff, and now, the second I get up, it’s a race through the series of obstacles that my day provides until I can crawl back into bed. Sleep is so nice. I don’t believe I ever said that I didn’t care about sleep. Sleep is my main thing. I love and need you, sleep. Don’t ever leave me.
The point is, for my wife to let me sleep in two days in a row meant that not only did she have to forego sleep herself, but she also had to deal with the kids without my help both days AND do it while exhausted. That’s some sweet, sweet shit, folks. That’s one of the nicest gestures I’ve ever received (not counting blowjobs). So, it’s official, she’s a keeper.
Also, real quickly, to get back to this for a sec, while in Indiana, I met these two hicks in this smoky(!!!) bar room who, in order to get to know me asked me ‘so, what do you drive, Brendan?’ to which I had to respond ‘uh…you guys aren’t gonna like this. A Jetta.’ At which point they started a-whoopin and a-hollerin to beat the band.
Or something. I dunno. I’m gonna take my kids to the nature preserve today. Later.