Monday, September 17, 2012

Be Still and Nap

The other day, I did something I rarely - if ever - do. In fact, I think in the past three years, I've maybe done it half a dozen times.

I took a nap in the afternoon while Kai was asleep.

Not Actual Photo of Me Napping.
Now, many of my fellow stay at home parents (as well as Ashley) think I'm a bit nuts for not taking advantage of this daily downtime. To be fair, the Rule of Thumb when taking care of an infant is "Sleep when they sleep," and I probably nodded off for around 10 minutes or so every so often while he was still small enough to be swaddled. That's not the "nap" I'm talking about. This nap in question I took was a full on lay-down-grab-a-blanket-and-intentionally-snore nap.

The main reason I don't nap during the afternoon isn't that I don't want to. This hour(ish) every day is sacred to me. It's my ME time, when I get to read. Watch MST3K. Write. Procrastinate from writing. And so on.

But this day? I decided to just let it go. Kai had slept for crap the night before, which meant I had slept for crap as well. I was in a stellar foul mood, and I was probably unfit to operate a motor vehicle. So for his safety as well as my own well-being, I decided to listen to my body for once and honor what it was asking me to do.

I decided that it wasn't that vital to do laundry.

I decided that it wasn't the most important thing to wash dishes. Again.

I decided that it wasn't imperative that I get dinner prepped in time for it to be served at 6:00.

I decided that whatever words I wanted or needed to put down would better be served marinating in my head a little longer.

Because I knew that if I'm not the best me that I can be emotionally, physically, psychologically, or spiritually, I'm not able to be the best husband, dad, caregiver, or provider that I am supposed to be and called to be. And if just letting go for one afternoon of what I think are either real or self-imposed requirements for me to do as a stay-at-home parent was what needed to happen, then that was what was going to happen.

Amazingly...the world did not end because the towels weren't folded and put away. The world didn't end because dishes stayed dirty a little while longer. The world didn't end because we had to eat out that night. The world didn't end because I didn't Tweet out some deep, profound or ultimately witty insight.

What did happen was this: Kai woke up from his nap, walked out of his room and over to the couch (where I was snoozing), woke me up, and asked me to cuddle him. And after climbing up to lay down next to me, he let out a deep sigh, said "I love you, daddy," and drifted off back to sleep. For about ten minutes, before waking up to see if SUPER HERO SQUAD was on TV.

Shh! Don't Wake Him!
But this blissful moment would not have happened had I not been willing. Had I not been willing to decrease - my blood pressure, my stress level, and my sense of everything in the house balancing on the fulcrum of my taking car of it - so that he - Kai, as well as Ashley - might increase. In importance and priority to me.

Not that I'm going to make this a REGULAR habit of napping, you understand.

It's just that every so often, actually living up to that "be still and know" idea turns out to be a healthy practice.


Ernie said...

I'm not gonna lie - I nap most afternoons that I'm home with the boys (which is about once per week). I just can't resist!

Sonny Lemmons said...

Oh, it's not EASY to resist. I have just conditioned myself to power through it sometimes. ...maybe with some added coffee, but still...