Sleepless Thoughts

Lost time

The weight of sorrow bears down on me, tearing the covers from my soul.

Dear God! It’s 4 am. I just want to sleep! I try deep breathing for the umpteenth time, this time my mind stills just enough to settle on a single thought.

Everything I’d dreamed I’d give my children has been left unfulfilled. The time is gone and I have failed.


The tears come, drenching my pillow until it’s so wet I can’t stand the cold dampness against my face, and I shove it to the floor. Qeue neck ache for tomorrow.

My children will never know what might have been if they had been raised with security instead of scarcity; what it’s like to grow up without losing everything…more than once.

It tears me apart inside and the sobs come uncontrollably. 

This was not my plan. I didn’t have one of those. I didn’t know I needed one. I wish I’d known.

If you read this, and know me, you’ll want to point out the good parts, the overcoming stories. Please don’t. I’m well aware of how strong I am and how “resilient” children are. I’m painfully aware of the many different ways anxiety and depression can manifest in children, preteens, teens, and young adults. I’m  exhausted by the struggle to find competent, affordable people to help them heal. I don’t need to be told that they’ll be okay, stronger, and better for having endured so much. I know them better than I know my own reflection in a mirror. What they’ve gained because of the struggle isn’t the point, but what’s been lost.

I don’t need to be reminded to stay positive and pray for peace.

What I need is to sit with this for a while. I need to be allowed to own my failings and feel my feelings.  I need to mourn the hopes and dreams I had for their upbringing, and apparently I need to write about it in order to do so.

Of monsters and drowning. Mixed metaphors on moms and the pursuit of passions.


In 1922, in a letter to his friend Max Brod, Franz Kafka wrote “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” It’s not a new quote for me. I’ve had it on a post it for years. I believe it to be true. Still, I hesitate to let the thoughts flesh themselves out on the page. I try to recommit to writing and yet here I am once again. I’ve held back.

Why do I hold back? I’m not entirely sure. I love to write. I’ve always loved writing. Once I begin it’s the crack in the dam scenario and the words surge forth.

Perhaps fear of the flood that follows is what makes it so hard to begin. The rush of creativity and coupled with the vulnerability brought on by the exposure will surely overtake me. I fear it will send me spinning among the rocks beneath the churning surface; smashing and bruising me until I’m nothing more than sodden corpse to be washed up later on a dusky beach somewhere, to traumatize a pair of young lovers who’s only goal was to share a kiss in the glow of the sunset. Yeah. Something like that.

I’m working it out. I have no desire to enrage a beast to the point of insanity. A writer must write. I KNOW this. And yet…

It seems logical that the concept behind Kafka’s words applies to the stifling in general of one’s passions, dreams, and gifts. So? How about you? What’s nagging at you? Do you have a little something special that you’re keeping on a high shelf? We mamas do that. We tell ourselves we don’t have time. We may revisit the idea once in a while; take it down, ponder it, and dream a bit, only to say “someday, when the kids have grown.” More often though, I believe we fear where the pursuit might take us and what it will require of us downstream. A rushing torrent may overwhelm us, or a meandering flow might float us along. It doesn’t matter. We barely have the energy to keep our head above still waters, because we are unquestionably exhausted! Far too often though, we grab the nearest stationary object and hold tight seeking “rest” in ways that don’t revive us. Yes. Sometimes we feel the need to grab hold of a week of naps, or binge watch a show while eating chocolate and drinking wine, but allowing those shallow gasps of air to take the place of deep, oxygen rich breaths that prepare us to dive to depths we’ve never experienced, is a surefire way to be drowned in overwhelm and regret.

What are you doing to grow your capacity to go to greater depths? Is there too much going on in your mind to sort through? Do you need ideas or strategies? Do you need resources to help you deal with your fears or overwhelm? Or are you in need of a retreat to even begin to dream? It’s my hope that this post and those to come will inspire and encourage you to figure out what you need, to help you do your thing.

Being moms and pursuing our passions is daunting, but it’s doable. We may not believe it right now but we’ve navigated much tougher things as moms than we’ll ever confront while pursuing our passions. We can do it.

While we’re at it, let’s not allow each other to drown. Let’s be life rafts.

Our best friend, our neighbor, the woman checking our groceries, or the one serving us on a rare night out might need a handhold today, she may need the emotional equivalent of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation! Be that. When we have opportunity to do so, let us encourage not just the dreaming, but the doing as well. Let’s get creative and help each other in any way we can. Swap child care hours, loan a computer, or barter services to fill in each other’s gaps. We always have opportunity to be a heroine in another woman’s story.

We must be kind to one another. We must stop ourselves in our tracks when the urge to judge another woman’s passion or success creeps in. We have endured enough as a whole. Let’s have grace for one another individually. Let’s lift each other up to pursue our passions, explore the depths, do the things, and keep the monsters at bay.


I close my eyes and try to breathe through the pain.

It’s been hours.

It comes in waves that swell and overtake rational thought.

But there is a focus that persists, leading me back to clarity with each cleansing breath.

Bring her out!

Do not relent!

Suddenly I am holding her in my arms.




She is crying.

I am holding her.

Twenty years
have squelched
  the magic
   of her head
    on my chest.

My lullabies cannot soothe
and my touch
  on her face
   brings little comfort.

I wonder how this can even be possible.

How are we here now,
in this place,
  with all of this pain?

Wasn’t it just a few moments ago that

        I promised her

                 the moon

                           the stars

                                    as I rocked her

                                                by their light?

Where are the stars?

Where has the moon gone?

Did we tell him goodnight one too many times?

I am holding her.

She is crying.

I will not relent!

I will bring her out!