When Marc was a toddler his older brothers used to call him the “Night Crawler.” I knew I was in for it from that point on. Marc always had trouble falling and even staying asleep. Having three boys, I innately understood that if I had enough children, I would experience one of everything, the picky eater, the biter, the crier, the spitter and yes, even the night crawler. I never imagined that Marc’s sleeping problems would continue throughout his life and worsen in his teenage years, ultimately contributing to my lifelong exhaustion.
One Sunday night, before I had the opportunity to begin my usual “because it’s a school night” lecture, Marc came into my bedroom at 9 PM announcing that he was going to bed. As he walked out of my bedroom door and into his own room I was elated. Should I read or go to sleep, I thought…this was too good to be true.
The house was finally quiet, for once. I decided to slide under the covers and spend some much-needed “me time” engrossed in a good book. I was joyous! It was hard to believe that two hours had passed when I heard Marc’s bedroom door open.
“Mom, I’m uncomfortable in my bed. I’m going to sleep on the couch.” Marc stated.
I replied, “Okay, but get to sleep. You have school tomorrow.”
I went back to reading my book but my mother’s intuition kept nudging me. It was then I realized that I hadn’t told Marc good night. Maybe I’ll just go downstairs and give him a kiss on the head. I quietly walked down the dark staircase from my bedroom to the living room. I approached the couch and leaned over to kiss Marc on the head…wait where was his head…it was covered in blankets.I felt for Marc’s shoulders then down his back. I yelled for my fiance’ John.
“John, come down here!”
John made his way down the stairs and into the dark living room.
“Where is Marc?” I asked.
“Right here.” John replied as he reached for Marc’s body on the couch “I can feel his legs.”
“Can you?” I asked John as I turned on the living room light and pulled back the covers.
There on the couch were Marc’s joggers stuffed with clean folded and rolled bathroom towels.
“He isn’t even home!” I shouted as I ran back upstairs to grab my cell phone.
I was both upset and concerned as I dialed Marc’s cell phone number. No answer. What parent doesn’t love to call their teenager’s cell phone (which they pay for) and get sent straight to voicemail, especially at a time like this and on a school night.
Time to go to plan B, I thought. I sent Marc a text stating that the cops were looking for him. Now I just had to wait.
Five minutes later Marc flew into the house.
“Mom, mom, mom, I’m sorry. You didn’t call the cops did you? I couldn’t sleep. I was only at my friend’s house across the street.” Marc stated with fear in his eyes.
“You are lucky that I didn’t…this time. Don’t you ever do that again! Now go to your room and go to bed. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.” I replied.
I had to chuckle to myself a bit as Marc walked up the staircase to his bedroom. I always thought that as a parent, I would be one step ahead of my kids at all times. I guess I was wrong. Maybe I could be…if I could just get some more sleep.