Last night I spent a couple of hours at our neighborhood’s more-or-less-annual HOA meeting. Because this public forum for complaining about things in the neighborhood only comes once a year, that’s a lot of griping and moaning to cram into two hours. Surprisingly, there seemed to be quite a bit less of that this year – that or I’m just used to it. We live in a pretty subdued neighborhood, and generally I only get worked up when there are safety problems like people parking all over the place so kids can’t easily see traffic and vice-versa. There are always a small number of people who seem to have nothing else better to do than complain about every minor thing, but that’s how life is everywhere.
I ended up leaving early because it was getting late and the peak of productivity for that meeting – such as those things are – seemed to have long passed by that point. I had meant to be home by the time J-Man would be going to bed, but I misread my cell phone clock and left the meeting late. He had become too tired to stay up any longer, and Mary had already put him to bed so I missed our nighttime routine. This made me sad.
Apparently he had been pretty confused about why I wasn’t there, which also made me sad, though he handled it well. I also missed reading him his nighttime story and doing our little father-son ritual, which is really quite a liturgy of sorts if you think about it, and which also made me sad to miss. And I also missed him trying to read the words on Mommy’s shirt before he went to bed, which also also made me sad.
We’ve had a very set nighttime routine for most of J-Man’s life. The strict routine helped us be able to get him to fall asleep on his own and have a better night. Since he didn’t sleep through the night until 16 months old and could not put himself to sleep or fall back asleep if he woke up – unless we rocked him or something – the routine was the only thing we found that helped. In time, he did sleep well on his own, but what a rough time (serious understatement) that was for everybody.
I’ve found that when I get off the routine, I don’t do well either. I missed saying ‘good night’ to him, I felt kind of down because of it, and I generally just felt off as a result. When we go out of town, it’s even more pronounced as none of us seem to do well off our schedules and routines in somewhere other than our own home and bed.
I can’t say that we were that good at this before J-Man was born, but I think we all find such a level of balance and comfort in our home routine to where being away or off schedule seems a lot harder now.
He still slept well last night, and we had a particularly nice morning together. He seemed very happy to see me and curled up in my lap for a bit while we watched the morning news. I know he’s more resilient than we give him credit for, but the peace we all get from the routine seems to always make life better, and noticeably harder when we’re off it