Operation Enduring Sleep

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An excerpt follows from Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms.

We called it Operation Enduring Sleep. My husband and I, the two‐member coalition in this war on sleep deprivation, took our assignment very seriously. Our mission was to transfer our sleeping toddler, Jordan, from his car seat to his bed without waking him.

After we deployed ourselves, our first step was to unhook the buckle on his restraining device. Jordan sighed, and we froze. Our lips pursed, our foreheads creased, and we both wondered if we’d have to wave the white flag so early in the battle.

After unhooking our little soldier, we gave silent instructions to one another. My husband Carey mouthed, “You get him; I’ll get the door.” I nodded in agreement.

Holding my breath, I slipped Jordan’s car seat strap over his head—so far, so good.

Then, the most dangerous part: the hoist. I carefully brought my son’s heavy arms up over my shoulders, wrapped one arm around his waist, and covered his head so as not to bump it on the car door and accidentally end the operation.

My brave husband held the door for me, and I walked past him. Trooper that he is, Carey had already been on a recon mission in our son’s bedroom. We both knew that any miscalculation or stumble on my part would prove fatal to our plan, so Hubby had pulled the bed covers back, darkened the room, and conducted a ground search for stray objects in Jordan’s room.

As I reached the target, Jordan stirred a bit. I hesitated, recalculated, and began humming a lullaby. Carey followed stealthily behind me, whispering encouragement. “Almost there,” he said. “You can do it.”

Then ever so gently, I placed Jordan on his bed, took off his shoes, and covered his body with a blanket. I tiptoed away, giving Carey the thumbs‐up sign. Mission accomplished.

But before we could be honorably discharged from our duties, we heard the one word that can bring an operation like this to its knees: “Mommy!”

Carey groaned quietly. My heart began to race. No, I thought. We’ve come too far to fail now! And I need a nap, too. I decided to walk away slowly, ignore my child, and hope he’s not really awake.

“Mommy!” Jordan cried, louder this time. I grimaced at Carey. He shrugged, and I turn back around. Our son was sitting up in bed, rubbing his eyes. “I’m not tired now.”

“You need more rest,” I whispered. What I really meant, of course, was that I needed more rest. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if sleep deprivation was fatal. “Go back to sleep.”

Jordan hopped off his bed, ran to my side, and raised his arms. “Hold you!” he said.

And so the mission was aborted. Sneaky kid, I thought. He knew my weak spots and wasn't afraid to exploit them.

But as I took Jordan in my arms, I inhaled his scent—a strange but comforting mixture of sweat, graham crackers, and baby soap. “Oh, well,” I said to Carey. My hubby smiled and put his arm around me, and we exited the nursery together, white flag waving.

Sometimes, losing the battle isn’t so bad.

Post by Dena Dyer, mom, Welcome Editor for The High Calling, and blogger at Mother Inferior.