Teaching Me

Insomnia stinks. Those of you who suffer from it know I speak the truth. I’ve suffered two episodes of insomnia in the past week: the first came just about a week ago, and the second occurred last Thursday night. While I’m not entirely sure of its cause, I think I had trouble sleeping because I had too much information swirling in my brain. These first two weeks of July are bursting at the seams with activity, family visits, and a week-long writing conference for me, and I have so much on my to-do list, my brain just can’t handle shutting down. It’s as if it wants to keep churning so that I can cross more of the items off my list. (Maybe I need to put sleep on that list, right?)

But insomnia is good for one thing: writing. And last Thursday, I realized that I hadn’t even thought about what to say about Melina’s ninth birthday, which just happens to be today. Somehow, I’m flabbergasted that my baby is nine. I mean, didn’t the twins just turn nine? Didn’t they?

No. They didn’t, but it sure feels like that. And I know that nine years from now, when Melina is heading off to college, I’ll be thinking back to the birthday that I had to miss. Yes, because of said writing conference, I will be out of the house for most of the day. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I do have plans to stop back at lunch, and I also have plans to make Melina dinner and bake her a cake, but not being here for most of the day? Will she ever forgive me?

Yes, Melina will. Because that’s Melina. For as fussy an eater as she can be (“I must eat in my order!”) and as regimented as she is about so many things (I think she might actually be flirting with OCD, no joke), Melina is one of those kids who adapt pretty well. So when I told her that I’d be gone on her birthday but that we’d still celebrate in the evening, she smiled and said okay. Her only request was to put in an order for fettuccine noodles and sweet Italian sausage for dinner. And, blue icing for her cake . . . I forgot about that one.

I’ve said it before, but I learn so much from this kid that I wonder sometimes how different I would be had she not entered my life. I know I’m a better human for knowing her, and I also know I need to keep my eyes peeled and my ears open. I don’t thinks she’s done teaching me yet.

Happy Birthday, Love. I’m looking forward to years of lessons from you.

 

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Christina Consolino is a mother, dreamer, author, editor and teacher from Dayton, Ohio. She's a member of the Plot Sisters and teaches Anatomy & Physiology at Sinclair Community College. She writes literary women's fiction, personal essays and more.