Originally posted April 18, 2008
I can feel the crankies
coming on already, thanks to a good dream cut short by the
appearance of a not so little person at my bedside before dawn this
morning. Noah, my nine-and-a-half-year-old, isn't sure
what woke him up and prompted him to climb into bed with us, but I
have a hunch: an earthquake.
Measuring 5.2 on the Richter
scale at its epicenter downstate in West Salem, Illinois, the
latest rumblings to emerge from what is known as the Wabash Valley
Fault Zone (adjacent to the New Madrid Fault Zone) were felt by
folks in states as far away as Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and
Missouri and certainly caused a ruckus in neighboring communities
in Indiana and Kentucky (no deaths or injuries reported thus far,
and none expected). Seismic readings from this area
aren't news, but seismic activity measuring above 3 on the Richter
scale does get folks' attention - and gets them out of
Since the births of my
children I've been fiercely protective of the little sleep I do
get. This is critical, if I'm to gracefully tolerate the chaos and
nonsense that happens in a life blessed with kids. If
you've been a parent for more than a blissful nano-second, you can
relate. There isn't much that can persuade me to
sacrifice more sleep, but six years ago I wondered: not even the
threat of death?
One Saturday morning in the
Spring of 2002 when we lived in Providence, Rhode Island, I woke
abruptly at 6:38 wondering why the bed was shaking. I leapt from my
bed fancying myself an action-adventure heroine. (Hey,
every mother is, right?) I hesitated in my bedroom
doorway as I noticed the old hook on my bedroom door
frame swinging wildly. It repeatedly hit the door jamb
with a pinging sound, and the mirror above my dresser
swayed back and forth. I wasn't imagining the
tremors. I ran down the hall possessed with the mission of
scooping my babies out of their beds and running for cover when
suddenly I stopped in my tracks, three feet from Holly's crib.
They're actually asleep, I
I recall that
baby Holly had me up half the previous night with teething pain,
and I was pooped. I decided I'd have to be completely
mad to wake them. Not unless this is a real earthquake!
I remember thinking. I
tiptoed backwards out of her room, went back to bed and hoped for
You read that right: I went
back to bed!
I'm not asking for much -
just enough sleep so that I can walk without stumbling through the
next day, through the Cheerios and Happy Meal toys that will no
doubt surface again, every day, in spite of my efforts to keep them
Later that morning, after the
kids woke up and I turned on the news, I learned that those tremors
I felt in Providence came from an earthquake registering at 5.1 on
the Richter scale at the epicenter 230 miles away in upstate New
York (today's quake was approximately the same distance from
Chicago). My husband was so jealous.
He'd risen early, and was so absorbed in his work at
the kitchen table downstairs that he hadn't noticed a thing.
He didn't really believe me until he saw the news
Noah, then three-and-a-half,
got excited by our earthquake debate.
"I want to cool off the earth
Mommy," he announced. "Make some ice cubes. I want to
pour them into a hole to cool off the earth." There
really is no rest for the weary.
It occurs to me now that
maybe little Noah was on to something. A cure to
global warming, perhaps?
My head hurts.
I'm going back to bed.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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