Sunday, December 15, 2013

Midnight



“2 :00 a.m. is the new midnight,” Julian says, and he’s not joking.  He’s just finished telling me his band rehearsed at midnight because that’s the only time all the musicians were free.  I congratulate myself for camouflaging my motherly What? look as a smile with only the faintest widened eyes.   I don’t want to think about the sleep my son is not getting.

I am reminded of another son, a freshman engineering student at the time, reflecting on his first year of classes, fifteen years ago, in response to the Mother prompt, “What would you say is a critical learning from this first year?”   

“I learned that midnight is not late,”  he said, an insight to match the maxim on the  back of his Engineering Students’ Society shirt that read:     Work: Infinite Set.  Sleep: Null Set.  (I lost the battle to include the symbols in this post.)

Truth be told,  any worry over the children’s friendship with Midnight is fraudulent.  I myself am no stranger to the witching hour’s beguiling attraction or its  critical role as a go-to source of time reserves.  A list of things I have done at midnight looks like this:

·            searched the lapping flames in the patio fireplace, mesmerized,  for insight and balm, a glass of wine in hand; 
·            danced polkas, old-time waltzes, jives and two-steps until my feet hurt;
·            listened to my husband and my two sons perform in various venues;
·            travelled alone in the dead of winter on the last leg of a trip back from a concert;
·            snoozed and read on a 747 headed to Europe;
·            puzzled over dance costumes, and stitched them together;
·            computed marks, planned lessons, and read student work;
·            prepared report cards;
·            organized my classroom;
·            wrapped Christmas gifts;
·            prepared food for dinner parties, school functions, or pot-luck events;
·            checked my gift list during Midnight Madness, the crunch of boots on the snow a counterpoint to the serenade of carols and Christmas songs pouring from the speakers on the city streets;
·            been in labour, the midnight announcing Christmas morning, to boot, delivered of a baby girl, my best Christmas present ever;
·            nursed babies, curled up in the rocker, both of us cocooned in blankets;
·            waited up for a child or a sibling on the road from somewhere, sometimes in a storm;
·            learned to use the first Macs on graduate class assignments from the manual, trial and error, and the Help feature;
·            comforted a sick child;
·            called the Health Line;
·            stroked the hand of an ailing parent;
·            read books;
·            watched movies;
·            savoured the rush of liturgical music performed with friends and family at Midnight masses for Christmas and New Year;
·            embraced my family and wished them New Year blessings;
·            celebrated réveillon, the French-Canadian after-Midnight-Mass-bash of gift-opening, food, and spirits;
·            occasionally, slept.  


Midnight and I have a relationship built on shared experiences, fond memories, epiphanies, and benefits beyond restorative sleep.  My children, too, embrace Midnight as a legitimate part of their workday.  I have to accept that the normalcy of it is a part of their inheritance.



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