I’ve learned that when I open the refrigerator and start thinking in caps lock, it’s time for bed.
“Oh no. Oh no ohnoohnoOHNO. There are NOT ENOUGH LEFTOVERS. I will be expected to COOK SOMETHING TODAY, and I CAN’T because everybody knows that cooking is THE HARDEST THING EVER, and I’ve set a horrible precedent by doing it in the past. WHAT WAS I THINKING???? Will anyone notice if I pour plant food over some Fruit Loops and call it lunch? I guess they probably will once Dan gets back and notices that the girls and I ARE DEAD. Having DIED because THE UNIVERSE EXPECTS ME TO COOK. Is it possible to posthumously sue God for inventing stomachs? LIFE. IS. OOOOOOOVEEEEERRRR.”
This monologue has special variations for opening my closet, the mail, or… well, my eyes, but each tends to conclude with life being oooooooveeeeerrrr, and the more draining the previous week has been, the more over life is. If, just to pull an example from thin air, the previous week had included lice and vomit, husbandlessness, and masochistic allergies, I might be prone to die on the spot whereas a week of marathons or natural disasters would only bring on some mild weeping. In any case, the cure is bed.
Now, I know this. I know that a meltdown brought on by something as non-life-threatening as a full refrigerator means I need sleep, stat. However, my brain isn’t the most logical of creatures when it’s overtired, and so I usually decide what I really need is chocolate frosting on a spoon. And then I need to re-read my Twitter feed from the last month. I need to stare into space for twenty minutes or so, and I definitely need to pluck my kneecaps while I ponder the futility of existence and ignore my children’s requests for food. I really, definitely, especially need to stay up as long as possible, preferably into the wee hours of the morning, in the hopes that some magical sense of accomplishment will descend and validate my decision not to sleep. This, I think, might be the definition of insanity.
Natalie informed me matter-of-factly after the refrigerator meltdown today, “If you’re tired, you should sleep.” She’s a wise one, and I give her credit not only for prompting a much-needed nap but for reminding me that self care is as much about awareness as it is about grace. I have a longstanding reluctance to honor my own needs, but awareness and grace are two practices I believe in with all of my heart, and I can’t pretend they don’t apply to how I treat myself. Which is why, even though the night is young and my only notable accomplishment today was feeding my children human food, I’m going to take my body’s—and daughter’s—advice and go to bed.