insomnia #16

Not insomnia, technically: I’ve been driven out of the bedroom by my husband’s asthma-related hacking and can’t find peace in the living room as my oldest daughter’s on the futon — and now she’s texting like a madwoman, despite it being 4 in the morning, but as I’m on the couch and online, I can’t hardly tell her to stop, although the seemingly endless clicking (is she writing him a novel?) is driving me crazy, so I slipped up and did anyway:

“Why are you texting at 4 in the morning?”

“Because I am. Why are you on the computer?”

“Because I can’t sleep.”

“Well, I can’t sleep either.”

Exactly as one would expect. The last two nights I spent in a Sacramento hotel room. I’ve undoubtedly shared my love of hotel rooms before, but once again, I must say, the experience of curling up in quiet, sparse solitude almost always brings happy slumber. Which was well-needed, as I was in S’mento for work (why else would one travel so far from the ocean?), work that matters greatly to me and included a short presentation to the California Fish & Game Commission on North Coast ocean protection on behalf of a whole group of people.

Despite my experience in public speaking my nerves jangled — I had only five minutes in which to convey a year’s worth of work. PowerPoint presentations are not my strong point. Things worked out, however: I didn’t stammer, managed to work in some good phrases, and ultimately the meeting results were as positive as they could be. What a great feeling to have the community’s hard work met with support. If only effort and reward were as connected in my parenting endeavors.

With parenting you spend all this time in the trenches, but the results take years to manifest. Then, if your kid is screwed up, it’s your fault, whereas if your kid thrives, it’s because he or she is an amazing person. You only get to take blame, not credit. So, really, all you can hope for is to be given good material to work with and then not mess things up too badly.

Bobby and I have been lucky that way.

Have been thinking about Nick and his diabetes — a rather constant presence in my mind — specifically, how brave and assured he continues to be regarding having this disease. His stoicism results in large part from not wanting to let being diabetic define him, from preferring to be “normal,” but he doesn’t go the denial route. He just deals with the endless finger-pricking and set-inserting and carb-counting and blood-sugar-adjusting as a matter-of-fact part of life to handle and move on from. I’m sorry, still floats through my mind each time I stab his fingers in the middle of the night, every time I have to shove a needle into his back. If the words slip out, out loud, however, he’s annoyed with me. No sense in apologizing, he conveys, it’s just stuff that has to be done.

Meanwhile Kaylee has written over 100 pages of a novel in between school work that includes completing numerous art projects, at which she also excels. Due partly to some instilled understanding of how to create, but also because she puts in the hours of hard work. I need to remember that — remarking on her talent comes so naturally; I need to also acknowledge all the exertion she’s put into doing things well.

(Rereading my own sentences and despairing at the quality, but in a post titled “Insomnia,” standards must be kept low.)

My hopes for Chelsea’s blossoming into a better place remain. She’s struggling now, trying to sort out what she wants and how to get there. Residual issues from her childhood continue to color the present — she’s the kid who bore the brunt of our financial and marital struggles — but at some point, all I can tell her is, I did my best. She’s always been loved and safe, and I’m so sorry if she ever felt otherwise. Eventually we all have to shrug off the past and take responsibility for being who we are, become the people we want to be. So that’s what I’m hoping for — that she finds the proverbial path toward happiness.

I would love to find a path toward sleep at this particular moment.

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