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  • Writer's pictureCindy

Is hibernation an option?

I am tired.

I know everyone is to an extent, so it’s hard to complain.

But somehow, this kind of tired is harder to explain than I feel like it should be.

This is the kind of tired you can feel in the depths of your soul. It’s the kind of tired that a few good nights’ sleep won’t fix (though they wouldn’t hurt honestly…) Somehow, it’s the kind of tired that permeates everything I do all day every day. It’s almost more like a weight that I carry as a part of me than anything… just weighing me down all of the time.

Part of it is probably sleep. As you may already know, Nolan’s not always a great sleeper. From the time he was very small, he’s had an on-again-off-again relationship with sleep. And when Nolan isn’t sleeping, it’s up to Kirk and I to make sure there’s an adult in the house who’s awake to avoid potential catastrophe.

Plus, I can’t exactly go to bed at the same time he does every night… There are things that need to get done that I can’t necessarily do (or do easily) when he’s awake. Plus, I’m an introvert which means I need some time to myself to process my day and recharge my own batteries. And should I want to pursue something I enjoy (you know-- those hobby things people have sometimes?), that’s my chance. Sure, Kirk and I try to give each other time for leisure, but it’s still hard to come by.

It doesn’t help that it’s winter here, either. Our daylight hours are short, and the weather is cold… I’m fairly certain that some instinct buried deep inside me wants me to just go curl up in a ball under a pile of blankets and hibernate. The cats would definitely appreciate that. Well, at least Walter would love to have a warm pile of human and blanket to nest in.

Walter would hibernate with me...

Plus my depression always shows up to the exhaustion party. I’ve lived with depression for a long time, and despite the fact that it’s well maintained, it still shows up to remind me that it’s there. Often, that reminder comes in the form of exhaustion. Don’t get me wrong-- it rears its ugly head in plenty of other ways, but the exhaustion it brings is definitely a constant. “Oh, you thought you got enough sleep and ate the right things and balanced it all with the perfect amount of caffeine? HA!” All I’m saying is that depression is the asshole no one invited to the party.

I’ve told Kirk that I feel like the thing that wears me down more than anything is my lack of down time. I go from getting up, rushing through my morning routine and helping where Kirk needs with Nolan’s morning routine, straight out the door to my full-time job, and finally to rushing home to make dinner and do bath and evening routine. Even when I try to relax in the evening or on lunch break, my mind is usually going 2983571 miles a minute with thoughts such as:

“Does Nolan have enough underwear?”

“Can I wait until the weekend to run that errand, or does it need to happen right now?”

“When is that bill due? And where does payday fall in relation to that?”

“We let school know that the bruise on his hand is from a self-injurious behavior, but are they going to start thinking we’re covering something up at some point? Because it feels like we’re always explaining something…”

“Are the cats eating enough? I mean Walter could stand to drop a few pounds, but if he’s eating the crunchy food instead of the soft food is he getting enough water in his diet?”

“How on earth did I leave the house looking like this? I mean, I don’t exactly give much weight to what people think about my fashion sense but at the same time I don’t want to set myself up to be judged…”

Okay maybe I overthink things. But I think that’s part of being a mom.

But as tired as I am, I know better days are coming. Even though our daylight hours are short, we’ve reached the time of year where they’re actually getting longer. And that makes a serious difference.

Plus, today is a federal holiday to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That means I’m actually off work today. While the bank where I work doesn’t close for all federal holidays (even when the Federal Reserve Bank is closed, we often stay open for our customers), we are closed today. Other than a dentist appointment for Nolan and his weekly music therapy appointment, our day is clear. It’ll be a nice break.

Today I’m grateful for that break. And somehow I’m grateful to be tired enough that I appreciate having that break. How’s that for screwy? But maybe that’s the silver lining… With as exhausting as this life is, I get to appreciate any down time I get.

Either way, exhaustion is a part of our normal. So much about our normal isn’t what anyone else’s normal is that it’s hard to notice such things anymore. And eventually our normal will evolve-- just as it has in the past.

Perhaps someday I’ll be less tired. But in the meantime, I know that all of this exhaustion is just a side effect of Nolan being so awesome. And I wouldn’t give him up for all of the exhaustion in the world.

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I really don't know how you do it. Or how anyone with kids and full time jobs does it, especially during Covid. In that way, I feel like our life is so easy and that I have no reason to be tired! gretchen

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