The other night I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.
This, for me, a chronically exhausted mom of a 2.5 year old who STILL doesn’t sleep through the night, was a big deal.
I realized I was feeling scared. Anxious. About some things very very little and some very very big.
The next day my dad came to town.
(When all of the wonderful things with MATCHED were happening this fall, we found out that my dad had cancer. That’s not my story to tell; suffice it to say that he underwent surgery and has a good prognosis and I adore him.)
My dad walked in to visit (he lives three hours away) and he looked, more than he had in months, like his old self. “What do you want to do?” he asked. “I’ll watch the kids!”
I said maybe I could run on the treadmill (since our air outside is toxic, another thing that could keep me up at night) while he played with the kids. I plugged in the iPhone to the treadmill and he and the kids played in the basement room while I ran. I pounded along and they drove cars across my dad’s arms. I was hot and sweaty and felt embarrassed that my dad could see how slow I was compared to high school. But then he kept calling out to me. “This is fun!” “I love this song!” (Or, when the kids followed him around the room: “I feel like a rock star.”)
I punched up the treadmill and ran faster because my dad was watching and cheering.
I remembered again how he has the best laugh in the world and how everything is funnier with him there.
Last night I climbed into bed and could feel the worries waiting to come again. They started in. But then I heard my dad puttering around downstairs, making all of the sounds I remembered from my childhood: getting a glass of water, closing cupboard doors, etc.
And I fell asleep.