After Midnight

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

After five years of marriage and two kids, things start to get uncomfortably comfortable around the house. That is, it becomes easier and easier to slip into bad habits, put less effort into things, or actually start to resent the familiarity of one's routine. Idiosyncrasies that were once charming (He combs his mustache with his fingers when he's trying to think of what to say - so cute!!) become alarmingly annoying (He won't stop grooming that stupid mustache with his fingers that he probably didn't even wash after supper - gross!) And, well, the union between two very different individuals can start to show signs of discourse if not attended to immediately.

That being said, marriage can be hard enough at times even before children enter the picture. So, taking our covenant with the utmost sincerity and seriousness, Josh and I have (for better or for worse) developed sort of "rules" that help us uphold Team Pardy, maintaining our sanity and helping to fill the cracks in this foundation we call marriage. After all, keeping Christ first and our spouses a very close second is the only option if we are gonna make it through life/parenthood/the-next-five-minutes alive! Whew!

So, today I'm shedding light on one of these "rules". Yep, just one. Trust me, you're gonna want to pace yourselves...Team Pardy works hard and plays even harder, after all. Anyway, it works for us, and I'm sure there will only be more and more added to the list as the journey continues for years to come.

The "After Midnight" rule came-to-be sometime shortly after Matilda arrived. I remember the night well. As you might have guessed by my many posts on being a zombie, Matilda was not a good sleeper right from the start. She would cry and fuss and claw at me with relentless and freakish strength I thought only baby grizzly bears could be born with. She wasn't necessarily "unhappy"...she was just active. This particular night, the darling child would not shut her eyes. She would not rest.
We were going on only a handful of hours of sleep over the last few days and Josh was trying to push himself through a full-time job during the day, unable to take the occasional catnap that I was attempting to sneak in during daylight. We were exhausted to say the least. The redbull and coffee had worn off. The second and third wind had died to a dusty, desert cough.

I remember "shushing" her and swaying her until my back ached, the soles of my feet were swollen and my eyelids kept springing open and shut like a cartoon window shade. She just kept crying. Finally, I made Josh take over. I was at my limit and I just needed this new daddy to step up to the plate and get this baby to sleep somehow.

I remember laying in bed, too tired to cry or form tears that my emotions were brewing underneath the dull glaze one could see on my outside. I couldn't help my baby. I didn't know what to do. And Josh wasn't doing any better. He rocked her, he shushed her, he hummed...she screamed. The minutes ticked by and suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, over the top of her cries I hear my husband (my sweet and thoughtful husband, the love of my life and father to my new child) erupt with fierce exclamation "I WANT TO THROW HER THROUGH THE WINDOW!"

I darted out of bed, yanked the screaming babe from his arms and sought haven in the nursery. I burst into tears and rocked the little terror until we were both soaked with our own tears. I couldn't believe it - Who was that man in the other room and what had he done with my husband? I was already beyond tired and emotional and had no more wits left to even think about finding their ends. I wanted somebody to rock me to sleep and explain who that monster was who was now soundly sleeping in my bed. WHAT had happened to my husband?

I'll tell you what. 2am and no sleep is what.

By morning, he got ready for work (albeit, groggy looking) but no worse for wear. No explanation, no apology, no remorse. He kissed us both goodbye and left for work...leaving me to wonder if what I had experienced the night before had all been a horrible dream. Is this charming fellow the same jerk who wanted to throw my bundle of joy through the window last night? Am I married to Jekyll or Hyde?

Needless to say, we sorted it out. It took a few talks and a whole lot of coffee, but we came to an understanding that we've found many couples can relate to. Given a highly emotional situation, women tend to resort to emotional responses (crying) and men tend to react with anger (yelling, shutting down, or wanting to throw a child through a bedroom window are apparently all natural responses in this situation). So, what's a couple to do when it is 3am, emotions are running high, and you end up snapping at each other as if you'd never met a worse enemy (and JUST at the moment you could really use a partner)?? How do you wake up and kiss each other and act like you didn't purposefully throw that pacifier in his face to get him to wake up and get the baby????

Well, if you are a Pardy, you do just that. Because nothing after midnight counts. That is, we don't hold anything we say against each other the next morning. Nothing between the hours of midnight to 6am are begrudged or used to argue a point. It just doesn't count. It can't. We're too tired and we don't mean it. It really is that simple.

Now, when I say "simple"...don't mistake this for being "easy". It's not. There have been many times that I can still draw to memory how I felt sad or angry that my husband was not more helpful at 2 in the morning - or how I resented the fact that I was blessed with the bosoms to nurse our hungry child in the middle of the night while my beloved snored soundly next to me. But, there also come to mind many times I was short with him, rude to him, and downright inconsiderate of the fact that he had to get up in a couple hours, present himself as awake and sharp, and go earn a living that we both are so grateful for. take a deep breath, you ask God for more grace, you forgive your spouse...then you go to sleep (eventually) and wake up with a smile and pour them coffee and kiss them goodbye for the day. And you don't bring it up again. Ever.

The "After Midnight" rule has even become something of a humorous staple in our home. There have been enough times now, with two youngins to care for, that we will actually find ourselves commiserating and even laughing about it in the morning. Sure, maybe we are both just too out-of-our-minds-tired to choose arguing over laughing about it...but, that's kind of the point. It just doesn't matter. It really, truly (and, believe me, I know this is hard to recall at 3am) doesn't matter who gets up to get the stupid pacifier for the baby...or change her diaper...or find that burp rag...or change those crib sheets (oh, that's the worst!) Just do it. Or let him. Or whatever the heck will be the most efficient way to get you back to bed as soon as possible - do that. Go to bed angry. Just go to bed.

And, when you wake up in the morning, remember that you hold the potential to set the tone for the day. He's not a monster. He does want to help you. He won't throw your baby out the window. He just needs a hug and some coffee, just like you do.

I'm so thankful for my husband. On this thankful Thursday, I just want to say how grateful I am for a gentleman that sticks by me and loves our babies so well...and restrains his anger to the midnight beast that so desperately requires rest...and who forgives me and my big mouth each and every morning.

Team Pardy. Rock on.

1 comment:

  1. I remember a night early on when J was crying in the middle of the night because he had woken up hungry. My sweet husband rolled over and innocently asked me, "Have you fed him yet?" I was having one of those nights, as you mentioned, when I resented the fact that I was the only one in the house blessed with the ability to feed him. I quickly snapped back, "Have YOU fed him yet?!" as I stormed out and headed for the nursery. Thankfully we were able to laugh about it and still quote that occasion to this day.

    I think the after midnight rule is a great idea. We have our fair share of after midnight snaps in need of grace. :)


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