There are days when you get up and go and go and go and go and you get home and the moment you sit, people say, “Oh, good, you’re here. Can you…” and they don’t really mean “can you?” They mean, help, do, now. My brain felt like a turkey in the oven with the thermometer popped out. “I’m done.” I wanted to say. My spirit felt unwilling. However, I also know sometimes, love means you do when you really don’t. This made sense to me when they were toddlers. The mean age of my children now hits 20.4.
We also have a dog. The dog needs walking whether or not you are tired, whether or not it is raining, whether or not you went all day. The kids, even the adult ones needed me too. There were needs upon needs upon needs. We worked on homework, dishes, and prepping for the next day. I deleted 357 emails and listened to each person pour out their day. The puppy decided she needed another walk. I groused.
My only down time today was when I was unconscious.
The dog curled up at my feet. My daughter texted me a note. My husband gave me an ice cream, and I sat down to write. It was bliss for five minutes. She’d almost fallen asleep. A different daughter knocked on the door. Moment’s gone. It became clear to me when a different child texted me awake about something I could do nothing about, I needed to establish office hours.
Rule #1: Closing time/off hours exist. I knowit’s hard to understand in the age of Uber, Taco Bell, 24-7 On Demand Television and the Internet, but even if these things never stop, your mother does.
Rule #2: Hints for when Mom is offline –on how to tell.
a) Is she in bed? Is she under the covers? Answer: She’s offline. Do not disturb.
b) Are her eyes closed? Are the lights out? Is the sun down? She’s possibly asleep. Do not disturb. c) Does the digital clock indicate it is past 10:30 pm? and not yet 6:15 am?
Answer: She’s offline. Do not disturb.
Rule #3: What should you do if she is not awake?
a) Go to bed yourself if answer (c) from Rule #2 applies.
b) Do not wake her.
Rule #4: But what if it is an actual emergency?
a) Let’s come back to the exceptions. Learn the rules.
b) LET MOM SLEEP.
c) Rule of thumb, If you would not wake Dad, do not wake Mom.
d) Follow up: If you would not wake your sister who gets grouchy, or your brother who might refuse to drive you anywhere for a week, do not wake Mom. If someone would be annoyed by being awakened, do not awaken.
When can I knock?
a) House is on fire.
b) Someone (anyone) is in severe medical distress.
c) You won Megamillions and want to buy your mother a beach house.
When can I text?
a) Don’t. Mom won’t see it until tomorrow.
b) If you want to give your side of the story, don’t. I’m not going to read all of that first thing in the morning either. Make peace and get over it.
c) Write a note to yourself –and go to bed, see if you still need to talk to me in the morning.
When can I call?
a) an agent is at the door and wants to make my first book into a screen play block buster film staring Julia Roberts.
b) Someone is going to the hospital for any reason.
c) You’ve discerned a vocation to religious life.
d) You won the MegaMillions Lottery and want to buy me a beach house.
Are there times I can call you after hours that don’t invovle fame, fortune or imminent death?
a) You are really sick and need care. (bandages, medicine, etc).
b) You’ve been stranded somehwhere and need a lift. We will come.
c) You’re out of toilet paper.
Are there times when if I call after hours, there will be imminent death? Yes.
a) Toiletrie requests other than for immediate necessary basic necessities.
b) To render a judgement in a dispute with a sibling. Whoever calls will probably lose. Whoever is part of it and didn’t call will also lose.
c) To fix a snack or go get one.
d) To clean up from a snack.
e) To kill a non lethal bug. I will charge a week’s worth of dinner dishes with pots and pans for after hour extermination services.
Please refer to this handy dandy guide as needed, most especially during the hours of 10:30 PM and 6:15 AM Monday through Friday. Sweet Dreams my loves.