If it’s not one thing, it’s my mother. In a good way.

Four hours of sleep last night.  Not processing well today.

Blame for this current bout of sleep deprivation can be portioned out equally to  last night’s chapter attack, picking up Terminal State (by Jeff Somers) while brushing my teeth, and a determined toddler.

It certainly wasn’t my fault.

I have two chapters to finish by Friday, so I gathered my pile of notes and got to work after the kids were tucked into bed and told to stay put.  I meant to spend an hour on Fun Project before moving on to my “serious project,”* but I got caught up in the flow (Stephen King calls it “falling through the hole in the paper”) and wrote and wrote and wrote—until I blinked and realized it was past eleven.

Feeling tired but accomplished, I snagged Terminal State (by Jeff Somers), which had finally arrived, and went to do all the things one does in the bathroom before bedtime, while a psychic-powered train tried its best to kill Avery Cates.

It was a very good chapter.   So was the one after that.  And after that . . . and sudden I realized that it had been past eleven before I’d started reading and if I went to bed right that very minute, I’d get five hours of sleep.

I went like a load of heavy, sleepy things.

Ten minutes later, Sunny woke up, as they say, with a vengeance.  When she falls asleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed—with or without their knowledge—it upsets her to wake up in her bed.  So she came in to complain, armed with her stepstool.  She climbed over her father—who didn’t seem to notice—snuggled in, and decided what she really wanted was to sing the pumpkin carols** I’d taught her last week.  It took me a while to convince her that we didn’t want to wake up Daddy and that sleeping wasn’t a complete waste of her time.

She finally said, “Okay, Mama,” closed her eyes, and fell asleep, leaving me to stare at my alarm clock as my darling child, curly-headed little stinkpot that she is, started to snore in my ear.

So I’ve been dragging my rear around all day, waiting for way too much caffeine to kick in and feeling, once again, like I should have had the kids ten years ago, when pulling all-nighters was a breeze.

I’ll also admit to feeling sort of noble about sucking it up and going into work anyway instead of calling in wretched . . . until about ten minutes ago, when I took my break and called Mom.

I asked her if she’d received the Halloween card I’d sent and the e-mailed link to our Halloween Pumpkins.  I might also have wanted a bit of sympathy for my rough night—not much, just maybe a poor baby*** and some gentle worry that I wasn’t getting enough sleep.  You know, Mom stuff.

She said yes to the card^ and no to the link.  “I haven’t checked my e-mail in a long time, honey,” she said.  The connection made her voice sound fainter than usual.

“Are you all right, Mom?”  I asked, forgetting poor me for a moment.  “I didn’t expect you to be home in the middle of the afternoon.”

“Oh, I’m fine.  I got up at 3:30 to do my shift at the animal shelter and I did laundry after I got back, and now I’m folding everything  before I go into work—I’m closing tonight.^^  But I can check the link before I go.”

“Great, Mom,” I said, feeling a lot wimpier than I had before and guilty for wanting to whine about how tired I was.   “I love you.  Bye!”

Mom is my hero for several reasons and I can only hope that I, too, will someday be able to give my daughters a pep talk and a guilt trip simply by mentioning my plans for the day.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab another diet Pepsi and get back to work.

Thanks, Mom!


*By which I mean my WIP, and not beating Crush the Castle . . . if only because I’d already knocked down the last fortress with my mighty trebuchet while Janie was doing her homework.

** Twinkle, Twinkle little Pumpkin, Pumpkin Bells, the Brave old Duke of Pumpkin, Yankee Pumpkin, and, my personal favorite, Jeremiah was a Pumpkin.

***For me, not the actual baby, who was way too awake this morning.

^ The outside had a cat in a cowboy costume with hat and scarf.  The inside said, “No animals were harmed in the making of this Halloween card.  However, one cat was made to feel absolutely ridiculous.”

^^As I’ve mentioned before, Mom owns and operates two Curves locations.  She bought the first one because the previous owner, who was (I believe) younger than she, decided to retire and Mom didn’t want the place to close.  She bought the other one when it went for sale because they were the nearest competition.  I don’t think Mom has middle gears.