Wake-Up Call: Finding Perspective After ‘Tornado’

So you think a picture is worth a thousand words?

I took a photo EARLY this morning that is worth a lot more than that. It exemplifies my wonderfully great but sleep-deprived life.

Defining Audacity

Let me break down the photo for you: That is my bed at 4:45 a.m., and I’m not in it.

I’m not sure when The Boy invaded my “slumber zone,” but he kicked me in the groin about the same time Ily Belle decided to attack the day. She was holding on to a little burp and decided there wasn’t much point in going back to sleep after she expelled it.

She reminded me of a freshman co-ed from college years at Midwestern State. As soon as she belched, she started smiling and cooing.

Confession: I had guarded optimism of revisiting my REM cycle before the sun came up, but my hopefulness soon faded. I saw my last 2 hours of sleep flash before my eyes as my 3-month-old daughter laughed at me.

I tried putting Ily back down – letting her entertain herself in her crib – but she wanted no part of that. My high-maintenance and very spoiled daughter wanted to play. She expresses that with a pitiful and helpless cry.

It didn’t matter anyway…a Texas tornado (a.k.a. my 3-year-old son) was wrecking havoc on my side of the bed. Twisting. Turning. Kicking. Punching. Flipping. Spinning.

Instead of putting on a bike helmet and cup, I decided to start the day myself.

After snapping my narrative photo, I jumped in the shower, got dressed and made myself some hot tea. Ily sat in her bouncy seat, just babbling and watching. Before my tea was done brewing, though, Ms. Ily had decided it was too early to get up after all. She passed out around 5:45 a.m.

Back to sleep for daddy?

I wish.

Once that hot water hits my naked body….game on! I could have laid in bed, but there is no way I was falling back asleep. So I decided that a little perspective was in order. (If you follow my blog at all, intentional perspective is consuming me. I love it. It helps keep me in check. It lays the foundation for contentment and living with a grateful heart.)

When you’re kicked in the crotch before 5 a.m., perspective keeps you from screaming:

“Enough!”

When your infant daughter feels like being playful while you still have sleep in your eyes, perspective keeps you from tilting your head and saying:

“Oh, hell no!”

I sipped my tea and kept looking at my photo. It made me smile.

I said a prayer, actually expressing my gratitude for this early-morning chaos.

I thought about friends with older kids, who don’t get to be the answer for a bad dream anymore. I thanked God for today – not yesterday or tomorrow, but today. It reminded me of something my dad once shared with me about parenting: “enjoy every minute of it, especially the oatmeal kisses.”

Unfortunately, I have several friends with really sick kids. I imagined that it’s hard to re-create this pre-dawn turmoil in a hospital room. I thanked God for keeping my family healthy and safe.

I imagined all the possibilities I was creating by getting up – and staying up – so early. I asked God to help keep my eyes, ears and heart open to these opportunities.

When Crash finally rolled out of bed around 7:30 a.m., I showed him the photo.

Crash: “Awwww…I’m playing with Ily.”

Me: “What are you talking about? You’re asleep.”

Crash: “Why am I sleeping in your bed, daddy?”

Me: “I guess Daddy needed a little perspective this morning. Just out of sleep-deprived curiosity, why did you come into our room…”

Crash (interrupting me): “I have to poop. Can you come wipe my hiney?”

Me: “You’re just full of perspective, huh?”

Crash: “I’m full of poop.”

More perspective necessary – all before 8 a.m.

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