The other day, I was regaling a friend with a story of the previous night, a rather atypical evening riddled with Aura’s 10 and 11 p.m. wake-ups and then her sudden bout of midnight-timed chatter. “Oh, you poor thing,” the other mother said when I finished. “You must be so tired, not having gone to bed until after midnight!”
Since I have never been one to turn down free pity, I simply nodded, trying my best for the expression all those subjects in medieval martyr paintings have, that half-smile/half-grimace that makes you really wish you named your kid Joan of Arc instead of Aura, the goddess of breezes in completely unsaintly and nudity-laden Greek mythology.
Umm…oh yes. My point: I kind of hedged the truth. I was still wide awake when Aura woke up for the umpteenth time at midnight, probably tooling around on my laptop or contemplating the wisdom of buying black matte flatware.
That’s because I’m almost always still awake at midnight. I love the night, and always have. This wasn’t an easy thing to manage growing up, especially with a chirpy morning-person mother who was a firm believer in a Good Night’s Sleep, Especially If You Want to Do Well Enough in High School to Get into a Good College. But once I arrived at the promised Good College (okay, so thanks, Mom), I indulged. Strolls around campus at eleven at night, forays to the university library at two in the morning, impromptu rides for pancakes hours after midnight…the darker, the better.
And it’s still that way. While I was pregnant, I harbored a gnawing fear that I’d have to change, that becoming a mother would mean that I would finally have to give up late nights, in favor of earlier mornings. Yet that hasn’t quite happened. Sure, Aura goes through phases when she’s rising near dawn, but they’re rare. I realize this is in large part because we have trained her to go to bed a bit later than her peers and therefore also wake up a bit later. And I know it won’t last forever, especially once kindergarten begins. But for now I’m thankful to still have my favorite part of the 24 hours, when the sun finally sinks out of sight and the night stretches before me, complete and thick and somehow full of more possibility than the day ever was.
I just hope Aura is better at surviving fewer than eight hours of sleep than I am. If not, I have a feeling we’ll be having the Good College talk sooner than later. But you better believe we’ll have it at night.