Chronicles of Sadie

The Sleeping Miracle

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The first few weeks at home with a newborn are a seismic shift in attitude, emotion, and most noticeably, schedule. Your “old” life of television-watching, meal-eating, casual talks on the veranda (okay, so we don’t actually have a veranda), and impromptu trips to go fetch ice cream or rent movies happen in very small windows of opportunity called nap times.

The moment the delicate space-time continuum is appeased yet again and those little eye lids begrudgingly agree to shut, Mommy and Daddy tiptoe gingerly through her room after laying her down. One must be careful not to inadvertently step on a stuffed animal or toy with a squeaker or an electronic flasher and thus disrupt the fragile equilibrium of nap time and send “crying arrows” flying from the crib like the first scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate just a bit—there are no arrows; but you get the point. Nap time is the only semblance left of the old way of living. And come on, it’s really only a figurehead of what once was. We didn’t have to whisper in the old days. Or lie down in exhaustion because we had not had a full-night’s sleep in four weeks. Or clean dried spit-up off the floor. Truth be told, the nap time as a return to normalcy is but an illusion—a moment of self-deception in which exhausted parents attempt to relive the glory days.

Of course I jest because these are the best of the glory days. For all you would-be parents out there who quiver at the horror stories of babydom, don’t listen to the critics. Parenting a piece of cake (wink, wink.)

Okay so it may not all be simple, but life around the Driver house did experience a sizable emotional upswing in Sadie’s fifth week of life “on the outside.”  Up to that point, we were accustomed to having Sadie safely tucked into her crib around 8:00 pm. In the first week or so, you could count on being awakened around 11:00 pm for a much-needed feeding and then again somewhere around 2:00 or 3:00 am. Then, you could plan on enjoying three or maybe even four luxurious hours of uninterrupted snoozing before the 6:00 or 7:00 am feeding.

Enter five-week-old Sadie, center stage—the only place on our stage she has ever been. Laura and I collapsed—I mean “lay down”—to go to sleep as usual. By this point, it was not unusual for Sadie to skip the 11:00 pm feeding and sleep on through until about 3:00 or 4:00 am. This was already feeling like heaven! If you played your cards right and completely sacrificed your personal and social time, you might snag a whole five hours of sleep. Anywho, we lay down one night when low and behold, the middle of the night feeding cry never came. Sadie slept all the way through the night!

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Laura and I danced through the hallways like children on Christmas morning. Sadie was showered with accolades and kisses of thanksgiving, to which she responded with a hearty spit-up—an obvious gesture of appreciation. We called everyone we knew to brag on our little “big” girl. Mostly, we tried not to jinx it for we knew that if the trend did not continue, we had tasted the promised land and returning to the Egypt of sleepless nights would now no longer suffice. Sadie had either prepared us for new seasons of joy or she had tempted our taste buds and consigned us to the bitter disappointment of more sleeplessness.

Time did tell. The miracle continued. A family was changed forever. A nation was saved.

For the most part, our little Sadie Bell slept all the way through the night from there on out, pending sickness or extreme circumstances. I could credit our attempts to regulate her schedule or my sublime skills as a parent. Mostly though, I just credit the mercy of God on a couple of exhausted new parents. Whatever the reason, sleep was restored and the universe took on a slightly more manageable hue.

A good night’s rest is a reflection of one’s inner serenity. In a day and age where millions cannot seem to achieve this most basic human necessity without medication, sleep is nothing less than a prized commodity. If I could have but one-half percent of the pharmaceutical profits made from the sale of sleep aids, let’s just say that I’d sleep better at night.

Real rest means one’s mind, body, and consciousness have all collectively agreed to remove the guard-on-duty and to let the fields of oneself lie fallow for a short season. You cannot be productive in sleep. You cannot get work done. You cannot guard yourself or your family. Sleep is a moment of complete and utter vulnerability—and yet, it is also a moment of complete and utter trust that someone who is awake is taking care of things.

The Psalmist, David, knew some things about sleepless nights. A man of war. A man pursued by his enemies who was forced to hide out in caves and run for his life. Yet he said, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”  (Psalm 4: 8 NLT)

I know that Sadie slept through the night because her little body had grown to the point that she could sustain her own blood sugar levels for that amount of time and that she was eating enough food to not wake up hungry. But besides all this, she felt safe. In fact, her feeling of safety was not even an afterthought. No thoughts of bills or intruders. Incomplete projects or relationship problems. Insurance claims or check engine lights. No concern about whether or not the world would continue spinning if her eyes were to shut.

Sometimes we tend to think that if our heads ever stop spinning, the world will follow suit. Maybe it is time to find rest in the only one who actually holds the world in his hands, and not just in the lines of a children’s song. A full-night’s rest may be closer than you think—it may be just a matter of filling your mind and spirit with his nutrition and trusting that he can handle whatever arises as you slumber away.

Just like Sadie, your rest is a big deal to your Father—and to the rest of us as well.

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