I’ll Sleep When I’m Deader

riley-12-5-08-powerpoint-heroLast night I was worried before I even went to sleep about not hearing the alarm this morning. Scott was out of town and he is our resident “morning person”– the parent who is coherent first. This is one of the five hundred and fifty reasons why he is the perfect husband for me. So my worries about hearing the alarm were well-founded in past experiences… and by the fact that I knew I was tired enough not to hear it.


After about two hours of fairly decent sleep, I felt my daughter get into the bed. I think she may have mumbled something about her room being hot. I may have groaned something. Can’t remember. But before I could slip back into REM sleep, I began to feel a sensation that I imagine a fire-breathing dragon would feel like… heat emitting from my nose like a blow torch. While stumbling around the upstairs, mumbling something about how they don’t insulate houses like they used to and how it’s no wonder the heat’s running and running because they might as well have not installed windows downstairs… I managed to get myself wide awake.  I adjusted the heat and, then I realized that I was incredibly thirsty, and hungry, and uncomfortable. I discovered each of these needs one at a time, after lying down. One time, after a trip to the fridge for some much-needed pumpkin spice soy milk, I tripped over the dog and hit her nose with my foot.  She started making that sniffing sound she does when her nose has taken a hit. So I fell to my knees in the dark to console her. She immediately fell back to sleep.  I didn’t.


I tossed and turned. Wandered around the house. Checked on the kids. Adjusted the heat again. Made shopping lists and to-do lists in my head. Started creating blog titles in my head for the next couple weeks. Dreamed of vacationing in Hawaii. You get the idea.  It just wasn’t the restful night I had been hoping for.


I eventually went back to sleep, but unfortunately that happened about a half-hour before I was supposed to get up. Just as I had worried, I missed the alarm because I was up all night worried about missing the alarm!  (I later learned I hadn’t set it right, but that wasn’t the point.) My head was pounding and one of my contacts was missing and Riley wanted me to help her fix her hair because she had a special PowerPoint presentation at school for the parents (which meant I needed to get myself together and attend the presentation). The kids were both late for school and I felt kind of like I got ready with an eggbeater.


Surprisingly, I got my act together and made it on time for the PowerPoint program. And it’s a good thing I did. You will never believe what my daughter’s presentation was about. It was about her hero… Emily Sutherland. The woman who can’t even be trusted with an alarm clock was this precious child’s hero.


No one knows my frailties quite like my children. And Riley is perceptive beyond her years. But she is equally gracious. And she has once again blown me away with her special gift for reaching down to a place I didn’t know I had and helping me wrestle down my giants with her trust. She made me forget my horrendous night’s sleep and all the lame stuff I worried about all night as she describe the “character traits” of her hero – “makes good choices, loving, a good cook, etc.”  She told everyone I work “20 hours” which made me smile. I work quite a few more than that and I’m so glad she only knows about 20 of them.


I’ve heard people joke around saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”  That typically sounds pretty morbid and tiring to me.  There’s no doubt,  I felt pretty dead when I woke up, but Riley’s little Power boost made me feel so alive… so determined not to act like I feel.  So I’ve decided that I’ll sleep when I’m even deader.  Right now, I’m working my “20 hours” with a sense of joy and renewal.


Maybe I didn’t set the alarm right on my new cell phone, but at least I figured out how to capture a photo with it… the photo you see here is a snapshot of Riley telling her class and their parents about her hero.




10 thoughts on “I’ll Sleep When I’m Deader

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  1. Hi Emily, Sounds like You are lucky to have such a Wonderful Daughter. And She is Blessed to have You as Her Mother.. Oh Yeah just to let You know it was 76 degrees down here today, Blue skies and the Sun shining. The Beach was Awesome.. Take care and see Ya in about 2 wks.. (( GO COLTS ))


  2. Oh Emily–you made me cry.
    I was in a pretty rotten mood. Just a bad day, all the way around and snuck back to my lap-top to get a few minutes to myself. Found your sweet story.
    I think I’ll just sit here for a while and reflect on the good stuff.


  3. Emily, How awe strucken you must have been, and how proud you must have been of Riley. I have never been a mother, but I have 2 nieces who I love just as much as if I was their mother and I can imagine how I would have if one of them had done that for me.
    Thank you for sharing your life stories with us. You just don’t know how many rough days you have brought me through. Keep up the good work and try not to work over your 20 hours a week.


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