Awake in the night….

Dreams

As I have gotten older, sleep has become so elusive. I recall being able to lay down and as my head hit the pillow, fall right to sleep. No longer. It has been happening for a number of years and I find it exhausting. Falling asleep mid-day? Absolutely no problem. I can nap like nobody’s business. Some days I just cannot continue doing what I am doing and I just sit and am out like a light. For about an hour. And then I am up and refreshed and ready to go all night long. I have tried melatonin and for the most part, it has greatly helped me to fall asleep. I found one that is time-released and that is perfect for me. But then, we got a puppy. It has only been in the past week or two she has let us sleep all night (she is now 4 months old) and so I may try that one again.

Last night I took my usual vitamins and my “Immunpro” (a product from Young Living with all sorts of immunity-boosting goodies in it) which has melatonin. I take two and that is about 6mg, which in melatonin world, is mild. But it gets me into a deep sleep. I am one of those people with a fussy tummy when it comes to vitamins, so I take all mine at night. I figure if my tummy gets upset, I will sleep through it. So far, so good. Well, last night was the night after our 2-year-old puppy was neutered. I think these “victorian collars” or “collars of shame” are horrible. But it does stop him from licking his wounds. About 3am he was up and wanting to go outside, which got the puppy up. ((sigh)) Another long puppy-parent night. My husband got up with them and was so good about getting everyone settled back in for the rest of the night.

Awake at night…

There I was, wide awake. I could hear the puppy snoring. Hubby was keeping time. The older pup trying to get comfy with that collar on him. And me. Staring at the ceiling fan, which I turn on because the dogs seem to settle better when it is running at night. And my brain just racing. I prayed and drifted off. And then – BAM – my dream woke me up. This was so weird because as I was dreaming, I heard me tell myself (weird) that I had no mother. And in my dream I was telling my mom all about my veggies and the puppy and our new wood stove project. And yet, I was standing behind myself, telling me my mom had died and I had no mom. I sat up suddenly, realizing my mom had died. She died at the end of May and here it is August, and I am waking up, missing my mom, and realizing she is truly gone. Grief is so weird and it pops up at the oddest times. And I realized I miss her. A lot. And with Alzheimer’s you start missing them as they progress and as they come to not recognize who you are, the pain increases. But I think on some level I still wanted her mothering; I wanted to share with her and I realized I cannot ever do that, again. It broke my heart all over again. And then I started thinking about my boys and my grand babies and how I will be gone from their lives in the not-so-distant-future, and it made me cry. And then I reached for my husband, to be sure he was still there, because leaving him will hurt the most.

For my husband.

And so this morning, I sort of dragged my raggedy behind out of bed. We slept in until just 15 minutes before my husband had an online meeting. We were rushed. Then he showered and was out the door, into the rain. It is dismal and dark and dripping and just yucky today. It is perfect for weepy me. Because as I am fully awake, I am missing my mom. I am angry that Alzheimer’s took her so many years ago and I feel gypped that I did not get more time with her. Yes, she was in her 90s, but we were never close. I’ve been married 37 years this year and these past 5 years are the most I’ve spent with my mom as an adult. And dang it, I wanted more time. And I keep thinking that I want my kids to know this pain of losing a parent, so that we can spend time together and make memories. But I also realize they are on their own trajectory to places and people and things that have nothing to do with me. It makes me yearn and hunger for it, but I know it is quite normal these days for young people to value their lives that are apart from their parents, and I guess I just need to adjust my expectations for more relationship with them. My love will never diminish, but I will learn to focus elsewhere.

Kolbe and Maggie

Our puppies are keeping us busy. Our new trailer has yet to be broken in, but I intend to do that before the snow gets here. Our garden is so much more than we expected and it keeps me busy. I can’t believe how exciting it is to see your first purple cauliflower bloom and to squeal in joy that your broccoli is flowering. I crack myself up, but I am loving being in the garden. A friend is challenging me to learn how to make my own tinctures and to possibly start a hydroponic garden in our dining room, as well as to grow our own mushrooms indoors ((not the magical kind – the medicinal and frying-for-a-steak kind)). There is still much to learn in life and I am open to it all. I am awaiting my fermenting equipment to arrive as I have over 40 cabbages to harvest and my husband desperately wants sauerkraut! I also ordered a book on fermenting vegetables, since I have no clue. Oh, and a crock to ferment them all in. So many firsts I wish I could share with my mom! She would never believe I could can salmon and vacuum seal my food. She would be absolutely stunned that I am gardening. LOL. But, life is what it is and we have to move on.

My focus is trying to be healthy in what I read, watch, listen to, who I invite into my circle, and what we eat. Eating as close to the ground and as local as I possibly can. Getting to bed at a good hour each night. No electronics in the bedroom (I do keep my phone there but it is dark while it charges). Trying to pray myself to sleep. And keeping a good vitamin/supplement regimen. I am hoping with all that implemented, I will be sleeping better and be more energized during my days. I gave up caffeine and sugar – I thought that would be instrumental. But there is so much more we can do for ourselves. Get right with those you love. Say “I love you” too often and too regularly that you’re becoming annoying. Call that friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Take a stand for what is truth and what is right in the world. Stand your ground. Live your faith. Be a good person. And when you lay your head on your pillow, sigh and smile at the great day you had, and sleep soundly. That is the plan!

Happy Dreaming

“And just like that…”

It’s so interesting how our minds work. I had a horrible nightmare last night..well, technically it was extremely early this morning…and woke to my 15-year-old dog barfing his guts out at the foot of my bed (luckily into his dog bed itself). To tell the truth, it was almost worse than the nightmare. Reality can do that to you, every once in a while. Your mind has you reeling and you’re breaking out in a cold sweat, thinking life is pretty bad, and then your dog throws up at your feet. And this morning, it was so very dark. It was black as night, which is why I was so confused.  It’s just week one of Daylight Savings Time – I really dislike the time change – and I am exhausted. Not only that, it is pitch black at 6:30am. So I had to find my way to a light to see what I was dealing with. Meanwhile, I was sweating over my nightmare and not fully aware of what was happening. And to be honest yet again, I think dealing with a sick dog is preferable to my dream, in many ways. In this particular case, once I was fully awake, I would much rather deal with my sick dog.

You see, in my dreams, I lost one of my sons. He snapped; he became someone he never was, nor anyone I had raised him to be. He exhibited behavior I had never expected of him. I was begging him. I was yelling at him. I was losing him and there was nothing I could do to stop his decisions. In my dream, I was cowering in my closet, crying and inconsolable. I think losing a child to poor choices is probably the worst thing I can imagine. I know people who have children who have struggled with addictions and who have served time in prison, or who have been admitted to rehab over and over again. I have seen families split apart who have not returned to a cohesive unit. And I have seen the pain in a parent’s eyes over their lost children.

And I cannot help but think of the world, and our country, right now. It feels like we are turning our backs on God. We have walked away from the basics of our faith. We have allowed the world in, so much so, that we have forgotten God. We have chosen to live life as we choose, away from His Word for us.

In the Ladder of Divine Ascent (the Icon depicted above) St.John Climacus exhorts us to pay attention. If you look at the icon you can see how decisions are affecting the eternity of those climbing. There are many ways in which we can see how, as a culture, we have chosen the world over its creator. The creation has become the master of the creator. It is usurped and upside down. And it can only lead to disaster. It can lead to each of us falling off the “Ladder of Divine Ascent,” our own pathway to heaven.

I read an article today by a young woman who was raised by her German grandmother. Her grandmother warned her that war was coming to us. As a young girl, her grandmother had tried to warn her own family in Germany, prior to World War 1, of an upcoming war, but none of them listened to her. So she fled to America via Ellis Island. She saw the “writing on the wall” (Daniel 5).  And she raised her children and grandchildren to be aware of the world – the history, culture, and markers that signal disaster is coming. And she believes we are, once again, headed for international disaster. Quite often, I feel that God needs a 2×4 to get my attention; I see these markers and yet I disdain them and blow them off. This dream, which was making me extremely upset, was stopped by my dog, before I could take the imagery further. Why did I dream about my son like that? I think it is because I realized his entire school experience, the sum total of all my years of schooling my children, is due to our homeschool by May 1st. The final grades for his last year of homeschooling. And that is so very close. As in 6 weeks close. As in my entire brood will have graduated from High School and be making their way into the world. And it scares me. For a variety of reasons. My babies are all adults. All of them. And here I sit.

You know, God experienced the “empty nest” syndrome, too. He had to expel Adam and Even from the Garden of Eden. As a parent, we sometimes have to make those tough calls. Of course, God knew that He was setting mankind on the pathway back to Him. He granted us free will, which allows us to follow or reject Him. Our children have free will. Eve was easily tempted by an apple, because of her free will, and the demonic presence whispering in her ear. She then infected Adam with the need to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, the one plant the Lord asked them to not eat. Isn’t that how it goes? What we are told we cannot have, we want all the more??  God gives us ample opportunities to choose Him. He allows us the opportunity to experience what the world has to offer. He allows us to feel sated by the world. To our “in the moment” minds; to our “if it feels good do it” mentality; to our “it will be fine, you will see” logic, we choose the pathway that is easier, wider, simpler. Being a follower of God, of Christ, is the single, most difficult thing I have ever chosen to do. But I cannot deny the pull of my heart; that emptiness that no amount of anything in this world fills, but God. The fear of my son making poor choices for his life? Isn’t that the fear all parents share? Most especially our God? He saw how our poor choices mounted, again and again. And He sent us His Son, to lead us each to salvation. Each of us. I can worry all I want about my kids; in fact, I always will. I may have sleepless nights until my eternal sleep, worrying about my children and grandchildren. Because as a parent, we never, ever stop worrying.

Once again, God has directed us to Him through the gift of Lent. He never stops worrying about us. I will never stop worrying about my family, or my friends. It’s part of who I am, as a woman, and as a mother. Each year, we are given a wonderful opportunity to re-direct our lives away from this crazy, inviting, world and direct ourselves towards God. We have this chance for more prayer, for reflection, for a metanoia of the heart, mind and soul. So even if this world is careening out of control, we firmly stand on the Rock, the Church. We have our faith to ground us, prepare us, to set a wall around our hearts. We don’t know when things will occur. And we need to always stay prepared. God has our best interests at heart as the Creator of all of us. He will never stop welcoming us Home to Him. And that one thing helps me sleep at night, and helps keep most nightmares at bay.

I know my kids are growing up and moving on. I know it. It’s just hard to deal with it some days. But facing these fears, in the light of day, and the Light of Christ, gives me strength. And just like that….