This morning I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch right after getting out of bed. Two hours later, after the foggy flurry that is every morning with a three-year-old, I was pedaling a cheerful Kamal to preschool, and I felt--happy. And not only happy, but that weird sense of full-body memory that you get sometimes when a set of conditions in your present matches a set of conditions from your past.
It took me a few minutes to remember, but the last time I'd felt like this was about a year after I'd graduated from college. I was working full-time as an assistant in a consulting firm in midtown Manhattan and also singing backup in a cover band that did play in Manhattan sometimes, and in Connecticut once a week, but mostly all over the Jersey Shore. So at least a couple of nights a week, I'd put on hot pants and heels, drive the two-plus hours to the Shore, sing along and shake my booty to top-40 songs, drive back to the shady garage I kept my car in next to the Hudson River, walk two long quiet blocks back to the apartment I shared with two roommates, roll into my futon, wake up two hours later, put on a skirt suit and take the train to the office.
I was so, so tired. And I don't know that I'd ever been that happy. Nights I didn't have a gig, I was out dancing, dating, drinking ridiculous cocktails with terrible names. Every morning I woke up and clipped into work. I rarely slept more than a few hours at a time; I developed an infatuation with coffee that has yet to lose its passion. I was doing wonderful things in a wonderful city, growing up, seeing and singing and being seen and being heard in a way I'd never been before. I felt like I was in the driver's seat for the first time, and I was intoxicated.
Nowadays, you know, Kamal doesn't really sleep. Or, well, he sleeps, but only for a few hours at a time, at best. Neither Adam nor I have gotten a full night's sleep in over three years. And our days and our nights are filled with Kamal: with the colors of his skin and hair and the inside of his mouth and the seashell of the inside of his ear; with the razor-sharp teeth that we watched grow in not very long ago; with the soft animal sounds he makes during those precious and rare hours of sleep; with the songs he teaches us and the elaborate nomenclature he devises around every new concept he learns; with his tears and boogers and paintings and rules. So many rules! He is in the driver's seat, undoubtedly, which is good, because I am intoxicated. I am so, so tired. And I don't know that I've ever been this happy.