Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't blink

Dear Stressed-out Dad in the hotel lobby,

I see you have a three year old and a six month old, one who is chatting happily about her hotel breakfast waffle and one who is screaming bloody murder. Looks like your wife is trying to give your son, the baby, some Cheerios, which is not helping him, so she’s resigned herself to a eating her oatmeal amidst the noise. I know she’s eating oatmeal because your daughter told the whole breakfast room that’s what y’all are eating. She doesn’t seem to care one iota that her brother is screaming or that you, Dad, are dying to simply get your son to quiet down so you, too, can eat some oatmeal.

(It’s pretty good, by the way. The raisins add a nice touch.)

You look like you got about five minutes of sleep. You’re still in your pajamas and it doesn’t look like you own a hair brush. I’m sure you do, but when you get down to it, brushing your hair doesn’t seem too high on the chart of human needs when you’re stuck in a hotel room with children who won’t sleep.

Your daughter is happily telling you all about her breakfast. Her oatmeal is GOOD! Her cereal is GOOD! Her juice is GOOD! But you’re still holding her baby brother who is not good. He is very, very not good.

I can’t seem to turn away. I keep hoping you’ll see me smile your way, nod a bit of encouragement, but you refuse to make eye contact with anyone. I imagine you wish you could crawl into a hole and stay there. At least it might be quiet and you could get some sleep.

Dad, I know you’re tired. I know you must be out of your right mind because you’re in your pajamas in a hotel lobby. I know you must think you’ll never sleep again. But one day, you will. It may not be tomorrow or even next month, but one day, your children will tuck themselves into bed, sleep all through the night and go to the hotel lobby breakfast all by themselves.

And you’ll sit at the table with them, wondering where the screaming six month old baby you swear you just held in your arms went. You’ll wonder how in the world the 6’2’’ young man at your table could possibly be in his second year of college. You marvel at the beauty of your daughters and deny the fact that they, too, will go to college one day very soon. You’ll watch as your whole family laughs about something and the memory of those sleepless nights will be so long gone you will wonder if they really happened at all.

Of course, you can’t possibly believe me right now. But trust me: you’ll blink and you’ll be sitting where I am.

Don’t miss it.

Enjoy your oatmeal,

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