Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spontaneous Midnight Movies

As Boo Bear celebrated her seventh birthday this week, I found myself reflecting on the dramatic ways my life changed when she was born. To me the changes were represented by the loss of a single freedom: spontaneous midnight movies.

Spontaneous. No longer could I freely travel; every trip out the door now involved a delicate orchestration of naptime, feeding, and a fully equipped diaper bag. If Boo was not joining me for my outing, preparations would additionally include arranging childcare, and preparing in advance for every possible situation. For a time it seemed as if the fun-loving side of my personality had been completely squashed due to the need for so much advance planning.

Midnight. Miss Boo cried for 10 weeks straight. Sleep came whenever someone else could keep watch for a few hours. I found myself crying at 7:00 every evening because I knew the rest of the world would be getting to sleep soon, while I would be holding lonely vigil over my crying baby. The idea of voluntarily staying up past dinner became a distant memory.

Movies. The Captain and I had spent the early years of our marriage going to the movies three times a week. With the increase in planning effort required to get out the door, and a severe level of fatigue, my interest in even attempting to visit the theater all but disappeared. Captain and I both grieved this loss, as we now had to negotiate finding a new shared interest, or else begin to drift our own ways with just this needy infant in common.

As time passed, I learned that change can be good; that not all change is permanent; and that some things are worth trading in for a few years while we invest in the lives of our children.

For my impulsive spirit, the challenge of planning ahead paved the way to learning discipline in other areas of life as well. I found that by outlining my day the night before, I can sleep a few minutes longer in the morning. I also discovered that those who are prepared can have spontaneous fun! When we are out together, we can stay out longer because my bag is equipped with snacks, a change of clothes, maybe even a note telling which local restaurant has free kids meals tonight!

Back in those sleepless early days, we finally worked out a routine of daddy taking a feeding, which gave me a five-hour stretch to sleep. Boo Bear eventually turned into a great sleeper, and over the next few months I could feel my sanity return along with my state of rested-ness. I still enjoy staying up late with my night-owl husband, but late does not mean the same hour it once did. After all, someone still has to tend those children in the morning, and I handle it so much better when I am rested.

We are still in the phase of fewer theater movies, down from three times a week to three times a year. We may stay there for another ten years. Still, we have learned to work with it. Captain goes out with his guy friends, and I have become much more choosy about what movies are worth my time. When he sees one he knows I would especially like, we make sure to catch it on video. And I remind myself that someday the kids will have outgrown their need for us, and Hollywood will still be putting out movies for us to see on a Friday night.

Life is all about rolling with the hits. It may be hard, and it may ask a lot of us, but change is natural, expected, and even a necessary part of our development. It also brings great rewards.

In the last seven years, we have even worked in a couple of spontaneous midnight movies.

1 comment:

  1. It will comne full circle. You have a good perspective. I'm thinking of you as you await LuLu's decision to come forth!


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