On different kinds of tired…

Home after a long day at the ER, twelve hours of running around and documenting, I am genuinely tired.  I’ve been up since six a.m. or so, the E.R. was quite busy all day long, and when I got home there were little boys to talk to, dinner to help with and the kitchen to clean after.  I am tired right now.

But there are other kinds of tired.  Somehow, even though I’ve been busy working and moving, my brain is not as in need of respite as it is at the end of a day with my children.  What is that?  Why is that?  Perhaps at work, I am interacting (for the most part) with adults, and we all sort of have the same goal in mind (everyone leaving the ER alive is a nice goal), but I don’t feel the intellectual exhaustion of attempting to do school work with two little boys at the same time, neither of which cares at all about getting his school work done and a toddler who is, let’s face it, very loud and vocal, and not very receptive to the term “inside voice.”

Plus, I suppose, there’s the idea that these children matter to me.  What happens to them in their lives is important–to me.  Will my inability to start any sort of science curriculum be detrimental to them because a)they need some of that and b) they are little boys and science experiments are FUN!  Will they hate me later in life because I did not teach them their multiplication tables until they were in high school (obviously this is hypothetical because they aren’t in high school yet, but you get my ability to worry and fret).  The children and adults that come through the ER are all God’s creatures, certainly, but I can give them the care that they need and never have to think about them again (that’s THEIR parents’ jobs).  That’s tired number two.

Tired number three is a totally different kind of tired.  This tired is post-labor tired.  This tired is “I just pushed a baby out of my body without drugs after being up for two nights in labor and now my newborn will not stop crying and why did I choose this again?” kind of tired.  Luckily, that tired only comes along every few years for me.  That exhaustion, that physical and emotional roller coaster of labor is a singular experience and the sleep that comes after it is heaven.

At the end of THIS exhausting day, I am thankful for whoever invented beds.  Because I am going to enjoy mine.  Right after I push this…

On wanting to be a Boy Scout even though I was a girl…


As far back as I can remember, the men and boys in my family have been involved in Boy Scouts.  That’s five of my uncles, three male cousins, and my dad and brothers.  Those three first cousins are Eagle Scouts (the highest achievement in Scouting), as well as my baby brother and an uncle.  My cousin Ennis got to go the World Jamboree in Australia when he was just 14 years old.  I still remember my sense of awe that he would get to fly all the way to the other side of the world and it would take him a whole day to get there.

Sometime in the 1980s, (so the stories go) my dad and uncles decided to revive the local scout troop that had fallen on hard times.  There were some tough moments in the beginning, and they didn’t always do things perfectly, but the cub scout pack and boy scout troop grew so much in the years that they were in charge.  My dad was both Cubmaster and Scoutmaster, as well as a leader for more than 20 years.  The year my youngest brother made Eagle and the first of my three sons entered Tiger Cubs, my dad gave up the post of Scoutmaster (for the second time) and it truly was the end of an era.

I remember Blue and Gold banquets when my brother Wilder was a Cub Scout.  The “wolf’s blood” that the boys would have to drink (V-8 juice, I think, mixed with Tobasco Sauce), the “bear meat” that they would have to chew (beef jerky most likely), the blue and gold balloons and flower arrangements.  The food and the pagentry of it all.  Such a sense of purpose and meaning.  Such a sense of pride for the boys and the moms and dads.

In the spring, there would be a big family fun day with food and games and at the end the Webelos who were moving up to Boy Scouts would be escorted away from their families and into the slowly darkening woods, quaking just a little.  Mothers sending boys into the woods to face their fears.

As the boys moved in to Boy Scouts (as opposed to cub scouts), there was summer camp and hiking the Appalachian Trail.  There was a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.  There was the Scout Bar-B-que every February with the men and boys roasting chickens over an open fire pit, starting at five o’clock in the morning.

Scouting should teach boys to be better men.  It should be purposeful.  It should have a sense of reverence, of honor, of tradition.  That is something that the men in my family felt strongly about and still do feel strongly about.  It’s the reason why my boys are in scouts and why we will not only support them, but encourage them to make scouting a part of their lives.

Man, how I wanted to be a Boy Scout.

On wanting a baby….

Saturday night I went to a pig-pickin’ engagement party for a cousin of mine who is getting married in March.  It was raining that night, so instead of a comfortable time on the deck and in the yard of my aunt and uncle’s home, looking out over the lake, basking in the glow of tiki-torches, the party was moved inside.  My aunt and uncle have a beautiful home, one I have many wonderful memories of growing up and they have plenty of space – but 50 people is a lot and it’s a good thing we all love each other, which we do.

My older two boys and my hubby were off on a scout trip, so I only had tolook after one little munchkin, but he can be a handful (or two) because of his boundless energy that now had free reign in a new house.  But, again, there were plenty of people there who love him and me, and he was watched over fairly well.  I was struck by how BIG he is.  Even though he isn’t yet three, I have had to pull out the size 4T clothes from the attic because he’s too big for even the 3T clothes anymore.  His feet have always been big, and continue to grow long and skinny, just like his dad’s.

Another of my cousins has four small children.  They are terribly cute kids, each with his or her own personality and all four years of age and under.  The youngest is just three months old and still very much a newborn, needing mostly sleep and breast-milk to be content and he has a mother with three other little ones so she doesn’t mind at all passing him off to be loved and content in another pair of arms.  So I got a hold of him right off the bat, and enjoyed the feeling of having a tiny person in my arms who would just hang out there.  None of my boys have ever been all that interested in just hanging out in my arms, snuggling in and holding on.  They are much more likely to try to use my arms as a jumping off point to a high shelf or other dangerous piece of furniture, or just to simply fling themselves at me.

Now I had in my arms a squishy little baby boy, who sank comfortably into the crook of my elbow as my body immediately began the mommy-sway that somehow works like a switch (baby in arms – on, baby not in arms-off) and within five minutes, even in the midst of this very loud and crowded party, he had fallen asleep. It’s no great shock to anyone that knows me that I am ready for another baby, and there’s my cousin-in-law, a fabulous, brave and sweet woman who obviously is open to life and has had to be. And here I am, wanting that which I cannot, even in this age of over-night shipping, get despite our best efforts for the past 12 months (give or take).

There’s a lesson in all of this I am sure, but right this minute, I don’t want to hear it.  I just want a baby.