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I’m a good sleeper and I value my bed time. But when I’m stressed or anxious, sleep’s the first thing to go. For a while, I was spontaneously waking every night at 3:13 a.m. After checking the clock, I’d lie there, listening to the dark – too lazy to read. Too lazy to do last night’s dishes. Too lazy to surf the internet. Too lazy to move.

I thought about the kids and the OINKdaddy. I mentally listed things I needed to do around the house and to the house, starting with cleaning the bathrooms and ending with getting the exterior re-sided. I made resolutions and remembered websites I’ve been meaning to visit. I composed pithy posts (which were forgotten by morning) and considered the deeper meaning of life. But mostly, I laid there and wished that I was sleeping.

Was there a root cause to my insomnia? Was I worried about the health and welfare of those nearest and dearest to me? Was I nervous about the half-marathon I was in training for? Was I freaked about testing for my black belt in Taekwondo? It could have been any of those things, but it wasn’t. It was this: I knew I needed to go back to work.

Change is good, or so they say. It’s the transition that sometimes rubs one raw. We’ll see. More on this later. For now, a promise, to you and to myself: I will keep writing.

I hope you’ll keep reading.

P.S. I’ve decided to keep my blog name. “DINKtales” just doesn’t resonate with me. Happy new year!

There are so many things I ought to be doing now, but instead of tackling any of those MUST-DOs, I am sitting at the computer, writing, which is a decided NICE-TO-DO. Writing eases my mind; it puts order to the chaos. When I am stressed or even just busy, I make lists. I feel a ridiculously deep sense of satisfaction when I cross items off a list. Done. Done. Finis.

I am trying to get Large to embrace list-making as a way to manage his anxieties but so far, it’s not working.

He’s ten and a half years old. He is a smart, funny, socially-aware kid. He loves to read, tell stories (replete with sound-effects!), sing, dance, and do anything technology related. He is also a tougher critic of himself than anyone ever could be, including me. And I’m no picnic.

Every mother wants success and happiness for her child. But what I’ve come to realize is something I’ve known all along: Wanting isn’t enough. We can’t just want for our children to grow up and become confident, well-adjusted, compassionate adults. We have to actively help them get there. It’s what we do, as mothers – as parents – that counts, if not now, then later on.

Being a parent is often mind-numbing. The stalling. The bickering. The whining. The slammed doors and the I-hate-yous. I am far from being a perfect mother (or wife, but that’s another post) and I am embarrassed to admit how frequently I delve into my fiction cocoon or retreat onto the internet rather than engage, comment and interact with my offspring. Even so, I hold fast to the belief that good parenting is a cumulative process. Consider the little things parents do every day, even when our patience is spread as thin as peanut butter on a piece of Weight-Watchers’ toast. The gentle reminders. The sit-and-do-your-homework speeches. The pep-talks. The these-are-the-consequences dictums. The smiles and hugs and cuddles. The I’m sorrys. The I’m proud of yous.

God, I hope I’m right.

Liam, every one of us learned to walk one step at a time. The luckiest of us had someone’s hand to hold onto. Your family loves you! Don’t ever forget it.

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