Epiphany – flash – insight – discovery – aha!
It didn’t take a lightning bolt aha! to tell me my kid needed a nap.
It was Sunday, January 8th. She was 14 months old. She was pulling her ear, rubbing her eyes and you could not hear the bishop recite the liturgy of baptism over her wails.
You see, the pastor at the church where I sang asked if she could please be baptized on the Feast of the Epiphany. The bishop was coming and there was only one other person lined up for baptism: 85 year old Klara.
It’s difficult to say “no” in these situations. A baptism was something to celebrate, reaching out to family and friends in supporting raising my Clara in faith and love. I was fond of the pastor and wanted to support him.
It’s just that I knew my daughter. She still needed her naps. She only took them when conditions were just right and I knew how to make that happen. Her will and desire were so strong she would keep herself awake if there was anything going on and it had been that way since she was four weeks old. I literally cried when I saw babies sleeping in their mother’s arms during public events.
Then there was the problem of this particular bishop.
He’d visited the church before. It was a challenge – a challenge he never mastered – for him to give a sermon in under 25 minutes.
For any mom who attends church with a young child, you know what I’m talking about. You are playing a game of Beat the Clock that resembles three-dimensional chess. Your children’s window of time between waking up, hunger signals, and nap nuclear meltdown depends on the church service going smoothly. Too long a sermon, and everything falls apart. Everything.
As the bishop’s sermon passed 35 minutes, I started to tear up. I knew what was coming. Because it wasn’t sermon, communion, final prayer, exit singing that week. It was sermon, baptism, communion, final prayer and blessing from the long-winded bishop, exit singing, set up family party, and …erm…celebrate?
So I found myself on that January 8th with a bawling, angry, toddler who, had she not been so intimidated by the bishop’s miter, would have splashed the baptismal water back at him. She’d already been reeling around the base of the ancient baptismal font sobbing because she just wanted to find a cozy place to lie down and sleep. Here were these strangers talking – picking her up, putting her down, pausing for the choir to sing.
And may I add that the cavernous, stone church sanctuary was very cold.
When it was all over, I swaddled my daughter and held her close to me, assuring her we’d be home so soon, so very soon. Before I could make my way out of the church, I was cornered by the 85 year old Klara who wanted to go on about how interesting both of those baptized had the same name – only she was Klara with a K.
To me the obvious difference was Klara with a K had an 83 ½ year jump on impulse control.
It all worked out. We drank champagne and even sang show tunes. Grandparents, godparents, neighbors, and friends. We toasted Clara with a C – a name that means light, perfect for the season of Epiphany.
Of course it took about two days to get my daughter back on her sleep schedule. The January 8th afternoon nap – usually at 12:30 – didn’t happen until 3:30.
My epiphany as I remember this story? My aha?
Know and trust thyself. Know and trust your body’s – and your kid’s body’s – hunger and sleep signals.
Here’s another one: some epiphanies are final. The lightning bolt insight that teaches you a Big Lesson only once. Others – like turning my personal dial into radio station WBoDY – I have to be reminded of regularly. At the moment, I’m still recovering from a crazy cold/flu/virus that I know is the result of too much sugar and getting off my routine in December. I did not tune into radio station WBoDY.
Do you share this same challenge with me? I’d love to hear all about it if you do. Contact information is on the About page.
Note: This week’s blog post is the Sleepytime Club newsletter that went out on January 9th. New year, new things to try!