I do my best writing before I go to sleep at night. It is in these moments before I fall asleep that the words come fast and easy. I'm witty and crass, serious and poignant. Within minutes I have pages full of words, exactly how I want them to read. From beginning to end, my story has been told almost seamlessly. Stories that I've been meaning to write for weeks. The only problem with this?
It's all in my head.
The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is sit down in front of my computer and write. As soon as the boys are bathed and in bed, the best I can often do is let myself sink slowly into the couch, staring numbly as I scroll through the previous week's DVR menu. The words don't flow at all, much less fast and easy.
An hour goes by, maybe two, as I lose myself even further in some fictional television series. Occasionally, I won't fast forward through commercials and I will turn to my husband and we'll exchange quick little snippets about our day.
Maybe somebody upstairs wakes up and requires a little extra loving to drift off back to sleep. Maybe the gods of sleep are shining down upon us and there's not a single peep or "mama?" to be heard as we sink further into the couch together.
We laugh and say how we find it difficult to find time in our day to fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, send important emails but here we are on our third episode of Prison Break, the laundry sitting unfolded in the washroom only footsteps away.
But it's this time on the couch, these last three episodes of mindless TV that have eased the sting of the day's tantrums, raised voices, timeouts and other misadventures in mothering. I need this time more than I need to sit at a computer and write.
By 11pm, we realized how painful the morning will be if we don't drag ourselves to bed. We shuffle through the kitchen, dancing our usual dance of turning off lights, starting the dishwasher and locking doors. Sheepie is already at the top of stairs, waiting patiently for us and willing us to hurry so that he can, once and for all, lay himself down in his cozy post on the floor at the foot of our bed.
He follows me through the boys' rooms. Feeling their foreheads which, only hours earlier, had been warmed by fever. Cheeks are kissed and I savor the feeling of their warm, sweet breath on my face. I try to take a mental picture of them like this because I know all to well how much more grown they'll look in the morning.
Bumping elbows, I brush my teeth alongside my husband. I try to think how many times we've done this. How many times I've taken these simple moments for granted after years of him traveling and wishing so badly we could be doing these mundane things together. Here we are, doing them, and in this moment, it doesn't strike me as anything other than ordinary.
We climb into bed- divvying up the sheets and blankets as we tend to do. He sleeps hot and I, cold, which means I keep the comforter and he, just the top sheet. We whisper our goodnights and our feet find each other immediately. Within minutes I know he is asleep.
I shift onto my side, wondering how much longer I'll be able to sleep without the infamous pregnancy pillow taking up residence in our bed. I am exhausted.
But as I lay there, waiting for sleep to takeover, the words come fast and easy. Paragraph after paragraph, telling the story I've tried so hard to write in previous weeks. I tell myself to remember. To remember the words and how easily they're coming together. Even the title has been chosen, something I always struggle with when the time comes.
I tell myself I should write this down. I should reach over and grab my phone from my nightstand and take notes. I can't. I don't want to. I don't want to stare at a screen. I continue to write in my head. Remember this, I tell myself.
Before long, the telltale footsteps of morning scurry across the floor. It's just after 6am and I'm greeted with a soft kiss on my forehead and the sweetest "Mom? I need to do peepee," that I've ever heard. Eyes half open I stumble out of bed and guide my early riser to the bathroom. As he finishes, I watch as he slides his pajamas pants on backwards and giggle.
It reminds me of something I wrote last night. Words that filled my head but what I can remember is only a snippet. As I tuck him back into his bed with a book (or three), I try so hard to remember what I had written. Of course I can remember that it was really good. Really, really good but for the life of me, nothing comes.
I guess I'll just have to wait until tonight to continue our story.