No really, they didn't.
They had ear infections and they teethed in a constant cycle of exhausted misery. I would lie awake with them in the night, nursing them and comforting them and I would imagine a future life for myself in which I was able to sleep for more than an hour at a time. My fantasies about REM sleep were vivid. I could just imagine what dreaming again would be like, the things I might accomplish once I was rested enough to think complete thoughts again.
Those days are thankfully far behind me and one of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is that we never wake up in the dark. The children often sleep until 8:30- even 9:00 and this may in fact be my greatest accomplishment as a parent.
These thoughts went through my mind as I set my alarm for 5am on Friday morning so that I might make my way into the ocean of consumer abundance known as Black Friday.
Why did I want to be at Toys R Us at 6 o'clock in the morning? I really have no idea. It was certainly not rational, but like a salmon compelled to swim upstream, I felt that I must participate in this frenzy of avarice and possibility.
When my alarm went off it was very, very dark. It was quite like nighttime actually, the kind of deep cold nighttime favored by serial killers plotting to carve innocent bargain hunting housewives into tiny bits.
I was kind of freaked out by the dark and the wind, so I wrapped my coat tightly around my body as I made my way into the car. Once inside I looked in the back seat, certain that something sinister must be waiting for me back there. My inspection only revealed the usual suburban minivan detritus of candy wrappers, pretzels ground into the floor and the broken promises of no eating in the car.
Once on my way I tried to chase away my fears by playing some Christmas music. The dulcet sounds of Johnny Mathis comforted me all the way to Toys R Us.
Inside I found cheerful bedlam and heaps of cheap plastic toys. There were lots of mothers and inexplicably to me, entire families doing their shopping. Why someone would take their husband and children with them to Toys R Us at 6am is a mystery to me.
Then I went to the mall, which was crowded, but manageable. Well, it was manageable except for The Gap which had 40% OFF THE ENTIRE STORE which made shoppers insane. People had armloads of clothes which they heaped onto the counters in an orgasmic frenzy. I left, because really, I like to buy my Gap stuff for 3.99 at the junk store.
After the mall, I went to The Christmas Tree Shop (20% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!), Bed Bath & Beyond (20% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!), Marshalls, Michael's (30% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!) and finally Kmart (DOORBUSTERS! 50% OF ALL KINDS OF CRAP!).
After Kmart it was time to make my way back. It was noon and I was done. My Christmas shopping was complete and I was both exhausted, which made me feel saintly, and smug, which made me feel like a sinner. This is the defining conflict of my life and the direct result of being taught by nuns.
Friday night I fell into bed and did not move until the sky was light. I shall make it my goal to not see the morning darkness for at least another year.