Falling Asleep

January 12th, 2015 § Leave a Comment

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep standing up. In my forty-five years of life, it was a first. I was holding our foster child in one of those front packs, gently bobbing to keep him asleep. It was early evening. A college basketball game of no consequence was on ESPN2. Bobbing. Watching. “Who’s even playing? I care less and less about basketball.” Bobbing. Patting. More watching.

And suddenly, I was falling forward. That internal equilibrium thing got triggered and fired a signal to my legs. A couple frantic, instinctive steps kept me from face planting atop our coffee table. More importantly, it kept me from inadvertently body slamming our five month old foster baby. Thank God for that equilibrium thing.

When I came to my senses, I realized I had done one of those violent, dozing head jerks except I did it with my whole body. I can use some more sleep.

Foster parenting has cost us a few things. Time is scarce. Meals are interrupted. Plans are adjusted. Of the different tolls the little man has levied, sleep has been the big one. I am learning anew the value of a good night’s sleep.

The other day, I was thinking of our tendency to believe that there will be a payoff. I want to tell myself, “It will all be worth it in the end.” I dream this kid will be a good man someday. And that maybe he’ll be the trigger that re-writes his family story. Change the trajectory of his generational line. Of course, I’ll learn something invaluable. This whole thing will do something in our family, in the hearts of our kids that cannot be done any other way. It’ll all be worth it. The payoff is far greater than the cost.

I don’t know. Maybe none of this happens. Will I then look back and think, “What was that all about? What a waste.” Is sacrifice only worthwhile if as a result something more is gained? I thought I’m dying either way. All my trying, I cannot keep. My life will be spent. Maybe the payoff is in having a say in where it will be spent. Maybe the payoff is in the dying for something … someone other than myself. Maybe the payoff is at the end of this life the falling asleep will come without the violent jerk.

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