I’ve been rather slow about blogging this week and to tell you the truth, I think it is because I am a bit sleep deprived. Monday night my daughter was out and about leaving encouraging messages on the cars of all the seniors on the high school soccer team. Tuesday was the last regular season home game and it is tradition for the younger players to honor them in this way. In any case, she didn’t get back home until around midnight. Tuesday night my son who had just arrived home from college met up with his old high school buddies and they decided to go to the late night showing of Spiderman 3. He didn’t return home until after 1:00 am. Last night this same son joined his new college buddies as they drove towards New York City for a couple of days of sightseeing in the Big Apple. Of course I stayed awake until I knew they were safely ensconced in New Jersey. Now I don’t have to stay awake for all this. My being awake will have no impact on what happens when the kids are out of the house. I know my college son is spending some late nights out while he is on campus at Rice and I certainly don’t keep tabs on his comings and goings while he is away. But once they are back in my nest, sleep is not going to come for me until I am sure they are safe and sound. So I putter around the house, keep a candle lit, and carry on a “chat” with Blessed Mother and St. Monica.
There was a time when I thought that once we got through the middle of the night feedings, diaper changes, drinks of water, and nightmares, motherhood would not be a vocation requiring sleep deprivation. The truth of the matter is motherhood knows no office hours. If the kids are out and about, I am on the clock and ready to spring into action if needed. I have jumped into the car to retrieve a teen when he or she called and said, “Come get me. Someone just showed up with beer at the party”. Usually, though, my nighttime vigils are just times of prayer. I pray for their safety. I pray for their good judgment. I pray for their friends. The kids sort of roll their eyes when they walk in the door and see me dozing in the comfy chair with my Rosary in hand. In spite of their bold proclamations that there is absolutely no need for me to wait up for them, I think they find it comforting to come home to a mother’s somewhat drowsy welcome. I know in the not-too-distant future, my nest will be empty and I really will be able to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. In the meantime, I will keep the coffee brewing and enjoy my late-night motherly vigils.