“Everybody got a plan until they get punched in the face.” –Mike Tyson
Before I had a baby, I had the whole sleep thing figured out. I was going to co-sleep and then gently move the baby to a bassinette by the bed in our room and then to a crib in the next room by which time, he’d be sleeping through the night and my husband and I would have quality ‘us’ time, weaving new threads of intimacy and togetherness while simultaneously knitting the new fabric of our beautiful little family.
Then the baby was born.
(Sound of needle scratching across a record.)
We brought this little 5 pound sack of sugar home and, well, I had no idea that something so small and miraculous and innocent and delicious could lay waste to my household, my body, (my marriage?), and my plan in a few short weeks.
He never slept. He cried a bunch. My boobies were the only thing that soothed him (while my husband got slapped like a giant mosquito if he went anywhere near them).
Within a few months, we’d dismantled the bed and the crib, put the mattresses on the floor where we could (theoretically) safely place our sleeping son and tip toe away for a much-needed break.
But truthfully? For well over a year (or 2) my husband and I kissed goodnight in the hallway, he’d go to our bedroom and I’d go to our son’s room and read books for 3 hours, nurse for another 5 and then sleep in 3-hour increments on a twin futon mattress tucked against the wall.
He couldn’t sleep unless he was physically ON someone, preferably me, and could startle awake at any moment. Occasionally I could transfer him to the futon (on the floor) and extract myself for a few moments of liberation. The first thing I would do was high-step it to front door to tape up a BABY SLEEPING DON’T RING THE BELL sign. The second thing was to stand in front of the open refrigerator and eat handfuls of salami.
There were many glorious, hilarious and even holy moments of being a mom and then times when I would look at the world through eye-slits, times I could set the air on fire with my dark thoughts.
It brings to mind this quote from Instagram account, #Fuckology:
I have two moods:
2. I will cut you
Why am I telling you this?
I guess because I am suspicious of systems that promise smooth sailing, a time when it’s all figured out, when doubt and hardship and uncertainty can be eliminated or reliably managed, controlled.
Mike Tyson is a difficult character to be sure, but his quote really hits it for me. Everybody got a plan until they get punched in the face, by trusted people, by mother nature, by calamity and cancer, by our own maddening minds.
We’re affected by things. The water is never still, still, always still. There is a point of contact when something hits. There are ripples. They reverberate. We meet those reverberations with Namaste and I will cut you and everything in between.
What I want is a steady stream of things that resurrect my sense of humor when it goes underwater during a plunge.
Laughing is key. As a dear friend said recently, laughing is a value.
And it doesn’t have to be the HAHAHAHAHA gaffawing pee-in-your pants laughter. The quirky, absurd, tender, awkward, unexpected, relatable, all soften and chip away at the hard edges of fear, perfectionism, a certain kind of industriousness and righteousness that really boils down to a false fortress of protection against the truth that all of us here are falling, falling, falling and spinning to an end that is surely coming.
What makes you laugh? Or giggle, or sigh, or remember?
Make a list. Put it up. Sometimes it won’t help.
But sometimes it will.