Last week, I traveled for work. As much as I was going to miss my family, a piece of me was looking forward to the possibility of sleeping through the night.
After we were able to stabilize (but not eliminate) our son’s seizures, we moved him back down to his room, and we’ve gone through a number of devices to be able to see and hear him at night. Our house is made of brick and metal, and the wireless signal is terrible, so most solutions that we’ve tried have been spotty. I still wake up in the middle of the night to find that an app has crashed or that the monitor has lost contact with the camera. My engineering autopilot kicks in, and I reach over and reset the monitor. I always joked that I could, but now find myself literally troubleshooting in my sleep. After the link is back up, I get back in bed and stay just awake enough to make sure I can hear the crackle from the monitor’s speaker before I drift back to sleep.
The first night on the road, my habits stuck. I woke up because it was too quiet and reached for a monitor that wasn’t there. By the third night, I almost slept through until morning…almost. Still, it was the best sleep I’ve had in months. I awoke feeling guilty because I wasn’t home at my digital post keeping my promise to watch over my son.
The night I returned home, I walked in to the house around midnight. I dropped off my bags in the living room and made my way in to the bedroom. I put on my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and made my way in to bed. I was so exhausted that I didn’t realize that my son was also in our bed, sprawled out and taking up most of the space. I climbed in, taking only enough room as to not tumble on to floor. My son woke up, only briefly, enough to say “daddy” with the flash of a smile, before moving closer to me and falling back asleep. I soon followed.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost