| LifeTakes |

My Sliver of Space

           I stay glued to the couch, the couch that’s blessedly free from little people overcrowding me, needing me, whining at me

“You coming to sleep?” says my tired husband.

“Yeah, soon. A few more minutes,” I reply half-heartedly.

I can’t come yet. I can’t pull myself away from this long awaited indulgence. I simply refuse to let this beautiful silence be wasted on sleep.

After a long and grueling day (like all the others), I savor the nothingness that has settled upon my living room. I am antsy to begin my non-slumber party — with myself.

How can I waste this gift on sleep I can’t even be awake to enjoy?

No, I can’t part with my silent night. I can’t give up the portion of my day that knows the best me, that knows me the best.

It’s these sacred and very few moments of quality time where I have space.

Think space. Alone space. Calm space. Write space, read space, even rest space.

But not sleep space.

So I stay glued to the couch, the couch that’s blessedly free from little people overcrowding me, needing me, whining at me, telling me they are hungry again.

Those precious tiny people aren’t here, to test me at a rate of 400 times a minute: Will I cave in and lose it, or gather all my strength to force myself to answer sweetly, to maximize the moments for connection and patience.

Those little ones aren’t awake, yet they’re also not at school, the school that’s far from their safe haven, far from my reach and supervision. They’re not in their “other life,” the one they know each morning, the one that has me filled with worry. I worry they’re struggling, not coping with the pressure, the tests, the social challenges.

Now, in the still of the night, I don’t worry and I don’t wonder.

Instead, I’m relieved. I’m overjoyed and grateful as I stand up for a moment to walk past the kids’ bedroom doors. I feel proudly maternal in this simple ritual, as I check on each one, blessing their good health, their lack of insomnia, their recharging of their batteries.

I peer in, and I let the peaceful silence fill my soul, holding my breath as I watch them breathe theirs.

And then, ignoring the full kitchen sinks and the toy-scattered floor, I collapse back onto the couch, and think the thoughts I’ve been needing to think.

I unpack my day, review my actions and reactions, my feelings, my thoughts, and internal narrations. I analyze and rate myself — as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

The minutes pass, and as I unwind, I only occasionally allow myself to glance at the clock. But even then, I firmly decide not to care.

This slice of time is where I am not moving, not cleaning, not talking, not doing, not parenting, not juggling.

I just am.

I’m me in my home, with my family around me, calm and tranquil.

I shed my extrovert shell, and give my introvert self a chance to reign.

I’m joyfully alone with my raw and basic self, my parts and extensions nearby but separate.

I breathe. I refill. I gather courage to face tomorrow.

I thank Hashem for this sliver of space he saves for me each day.

And then, I head to sleep.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 805)

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