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…