Janey is awake. It is nearing three in the morning. She has been crying, demanding, screaming---for hours. I am beyond tired, at that place that is someplace past tired. I see nothing in the future but a string of days and nights like this---held hostage by the needs of a little girl I love more than anything, but that I can't fix, that I can't make happy, that confounds so many people who try to help her, that is beyond the bounds of any advice or help or cheery talk that exists out there.
I am feeling despair, and I then I picture a club. Around the world, although I can't see them, I know there is a club of mothers like myself. Fathers too, but I am thinking of the mothers right now. Mothers awake, trying to do everything they can to make a troubled child happy. Mothers that have given up on lofty goals of self-fulfillment, that no longer believe the glossy claims of the parenting magazines. Mothers that are just trying to make it through the night.
I know these mothers are out there. We have talked, virtually. I picture us all together some sleepless night---our children in the middle of a big room, doing their own separate things---screaming, crying, chanting in echolalia, laughing loudly, jumping and singing. We mothers sit around the outside, drinking the coffee that sustains us, smiling at each other's children instead of staring as the non-members do.
Nobody in their right mind would want to join our club. But once you are in, you are in. You are in for life. You are part of a pretty exclusive crew, a sorority with brutal initiation rites. We have each other. I am seeing you tonight, maybe as part of a sleep-deprived vision, but I am seeing you, all around the world, living my same life, keeping me going. Here's to all of us. Let's drink a cup of kindness yet, and hope for the morning to arrive.