Asher picks his nose before falling asleep. Every night, without fail, it is the last thing he does before closing his eyes. I know this because I am always beside him, sharing his twin bed, listening to his music, trying to coax him to sleep. On nights like tonight it takes just minutes. He plays with a couple of action figures, rolls to his side, picks his nose and out like a light.
Other nights are long and loud and full of tears, his and mine.
He's not yet fallen asleep on his own on this side of the ocean. Whether it's big brother or Matt or myself, he is in need of one of us in the dark hours. Last night was one of the long ones. I was trying to rock an angry three-year-old to sleep, except without a rocker, which was left behind in America. I've not wanted for many things we didn't take with us (the couch and the dining room table and the pallet headboard have all found better homes), but last night... all I could think in that moment was how much I missed the soft underlying rhythm of that rocking chair. And we both cried.
We are happy here, enjoying life here, having several victories in hand for every one overly-hard day. But we've got no rhythm, no backbeat.
Asher cries in the night - every night - and we all switch beds. We're staying up too late and getting up too late. Eczema still lingers on my hands and on Ella's arms and legs. And I can't even begin to think about meal planning or cooking or grocery shopping. We're still eating in pasta-marinara-survival-mode.
We still feel off.
When will we feel normal again? When will we sleep again? When will we eat well-balanced meals and go to bed at a decent hour and maybe sleep through the night again? When we will find a rhythm again?
As I bask in the success of a painless bedtime routine tonight (so far... the night is still young), I wonder if it isn't so much about us finding a rhythm, as it is letting the rhythm find us. I read an article in a magazine this week where a woman describes her lack of musical beat, her reticence to dance. Her husband tells her,
"count the steps... let me lead you."
Count the steps... let me lead you.
What we're doing right now, we're counting the steps. We're learning the dance. We're getting the timing right and letting good days wash over us like rain after a long, long draught. And soon we look up and remember the way, feel the rhythm.
Our life here before, it's not like memory foam. We can't just lay into the dent our bodies once made. It's a whole new dance, but the backbeat, the reason, the calling and the God... still the same.
And if the rhythm now is laying in bed every night next to a nose-picking toddler, He'll find me there... I hope.
Do you practice rhythms in your life? What are they?