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Getting a Night Off

A rare occasion happened … I got a night off as a mommy! My aunt was taking a road trip from her home in Florida to her home in Indiana. Atlanta is the midway point between the two so she stopped over for a few days to visit and recharge for the next leg.

She was traveling with her two puppies and they gave her a run for her money and was hoping I was available to ride with her the rest of the way to keep her company and assist with the dogs. She would fly me back to Atlanta the next day. Knowing that I was desperate for a full nights sleep, my husband was happy to let me go and welcomed the challenge of juggling our three year old and four month old on his own. I wished him the best of luck and hit the road!

As our wheels hit the highway my head filled with all that I could do with my two days and one night of freedom. I could get some writing done, I could get some sleep, I could write, and I could sleep. The possibilities were endless! I was positively giddy! With stops for food, gas, bathroom breaks (for us and the dogs), and a couple of wacky out-of-the way routes charted by the unpredictable Nav system (it actually changed directions to going back to our starting point by itself!); our quick six hour journey turned into a nine hour hilarious adventure.

We arrived safely and just in time for bed. My aunt and uncle are in the process of moving back to Florida so their current Indiana home is a small one bedroom apartment with very little furniture. So that I would be comfortable (and as a thank you), they agreed to put me up in a nice hotel within walking distance from their place.

A hotel room to myself with a bed piled high with pillows and a fluffy down comforter … ahhhh. No chance of a little person padding across the hall to the side of my bed asking can she climb up. No sounds of a whine winding up signaling the need for a diaper change and five ounces of formula. No blanket hogs or snoring. Given the lateness of our arrival, I decided to not even try to write before bed and prayed that my brain would shut down enough that no bright ideas would come to me until morning.

The anticipation of my uninterrupted slumber was almost intoxicating. As exhausted as I was, I was sure my eyes would not open until at least 7 a.m. … maybe even 8 …wouldn’t that be heaven! I took a long hot shower and got into bed. I turned on some sitcom that I know my husband would have hated and snuggled down. I have no idea what time it was when I slipped out of consciousness … but I can tell you that I did not even make it to the next commercial break.

My eyes peeled open. It was 5:30 a.m. … the wake up/feeding time of my 4 month old … I must have missed him. Insert expletive here. My body and mind shifted into its automatic mode even though I was trying my best to be unplugged until my plane lands in Atlanta this afternoon. I could not go back to sleep, I instantly craved coffee, and my brain flooded with article ideas, the paragraphs you are reading now, and a headline for a press release I had been trying to write for two weeks. I also had the overwhelming urge to call home and check in … or rather check on.

I forced my eyes shut and silently sang “la la la I can’t hear you” to my brain. I refused to leave this solace until at least 6:00 a.m. At 6:15 I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get coffee and the ideas down on paper before they disappeared forever. Oh well … it was good while it lasted, right! Right! I got (I am guessing) about five or six hours of uninterrupted sleep and I did write. Mission accomplished.

(This piece was originally written in October 2007 as an entry in my personal journal.  Outside of illness, I have not had another night off since ... but I remain hopeful.)

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