Hello again, Midnight. I wish I could say I was happy to see you. My, what a journey we have had together over the years. I must admit I thought we started out as friends, but as we meet these days, I sense an unkindness about you.
Our journey began when I was somewhere around 12. Sure, I had met you in passing on occasion in years prior, but it wasn’t until now that I sought out your companionship. Some middle school girlfriends and I stayed up late, feeling rebellious against bedtime. We were fascinated by the way the world worked after dark, “Oh what wonders exist after the sun goes down?” we wondered. But we soon realized you weren’t for us yet, Midnight. Not yet.
Then in high school and college, we became old friends you and me. You and all of us really. My friends and I would dive into your raven-black skies and soak up all the adventures we could. We learned with you, Midnight, was when life happened. From parties to late-night studying to hours-long chats with a new beau to simply staying up late with friends to watch a movie. This was when life was lived. We were in a good place you and me. Midnight, you had become a friend, a comrade, a time of memory-making and celebration.
Then someone new joined our after-hours party. They were tiny and cried a lot, but, Midnight, our relationship stayed familiar. Together we welcomed this new bundle and spent countless hours with them. From middle-of-the-night feedings to late-night snuggles to diaper changes and rocking a baby to sleep. We did so much together cloaked in your peaceful darkness and stillness. My once youthful energy had been replaced with exhaustion, but in the stillness of your presence, I felt utter peace as I soaked up the little features of those sweet babies. Wrapped in your embrace I was reminded that these moments were special, fleeting, sacred.
But soon these babies grew and our gatherings as an after-bedtime group became fewer and fewer. I would see you time and again but our meetings were usually short-lived and sometimes burdened by sickness or occurring by pure accident after staying up too late. Together with my peers, we joked “Midnight is too late for us!” The truth was we really didn’t want to spend time with you, Midnight. Sleep and Early Morning became our new greatest pals. Perhaps it was the sudden neglect that turned you cruel. Perhaps.
As the last pages of babyhood were recently closed in my life, I find myself reluctantly meeting with you again, Midnight. Admittedly, I am not the friend to you I once was. No, the years have shaped me differently. Sleep and Dusk are who I seek, yet you and I are occasionally thrust together. Our meetings are no longer filled with parties or late-night baby snuggles. Now they are lonely. It’s just you and me and the void your darkness has become. Most days you bring with you overwhelming to-do lists, reminders of how fleeting time is, and guilt . . . oh, the guilt.
I want to call a truce, Midnight. Let’s be kind to one another again. Let’s mold a new journey together. When suddenly I wake to nothing but your stillness, please don’t remind me of the days that are lost or the ways I could have done better. Would you instead bat away guilt, turn the to-do lists away, and fill your space with restful sleep? Moms all around the world need your peace, not a round in your game of “How Badly Did You Mess Up Today?” We want to rest safely in the stillness of our sleeping families, our tucked-in homes, of you, Midnight.
So what do you say Midnight, can we be friends again?