My dad is funny, usually without even trying. Sometimes he says words wrong, or uses a saying that no one has used in about 47 years. And sometimes, being a gruff, tough football coach, the way he says things just come out funny (not funny when I was sixteen, of course, but we'll let that go) because he references almost everything in life back to working, working out, or playing football.
And sometimes he says things exactly right. Like yesterday morning. He called at 8:00 a.m. (rather late for Dad, frankly) and woke me up. I was embarrassed that he woke me up because my dad doesn't tolerate laziness and even though I'm a grown adult, I wouldn't want him to think I spend my days lying in bed eating bon bons or anything. He didn't say anything about my laziness, he just said "Babe, did I wake you up?" Yeah, but it's ok. "Oh, I'm sorry honey, I was just calling you back from last night." Oh, it's no big deal. The kids were just up several times last night and the last one was from 4 to 6 a.m. and I went back to sleep. I should have just gotten up.
I expected him to tease me for letting the "Rack Monster" get a hold of me or for not having a job and being able to sleep all day. But he didn't. He said the perfect thing. He said "Hey, you're on Firehouse Duty." Firehouse Duty? "Yeah, you know, when Josh (my brother) is at the firehouse, they pretty much eat, sleep when they can, and go on runs. When you have sick kids, it's like you're on Firehouse Duty. But you don't have 24 hour shifts. Yours is all the time. So don't apologize for Firehouse Duty. You gotta catch up on your sleep so you'll be on top of your game. Those kids need you at your best, so take a nap when you can."
I can't even explain how good that made me feel. For those of you who have small children or used to have small children, you know what it feels like to be up and down several times a night for nights on end. It's like you can't ever catch up on your sleep. So when and if you finally get a chance to actually sleep in, you could sleep forever. And then you wake up, feeling guilty for not being more productive and getting up and getting the day started. But as of today, there are no more guilt feelings for sleeping late if your kids have been sick or sad or scared in the night. You are on Firehouse Duty. (Doesn't that sound so much cooler than Tired-Mom-With-Sick-Kids Duty?)