Mark, Night Wanderer

I check the Nest cam most mornings, because it’s about the most fun I have on any given day to see either the very fat groundhog waddle up the front steps or the neighborhood cat continuing it’s siege on our chipmunks. Some mornings, I find other entertaining things on the camera. Like this past week, when I found Mark taking out the trash at 2:25 am. Now as much as I appreciate the desire to help, it’s not exactly optimal to have Mark up and outside in the middle of the night. Or inside. But nightly, he gets up because he can’t sleep. He makes himself a pot of coffee (I am now hiding anything other than decaf), does some chores (popping a balloon at 5 am on Friday morning was not a high point for me), naps on the couch, and just sits and lets time pass. (Not being helped by his middle of the night pot of coffee.) Remember what it was like to have a toddler that got up in the night, after you gave them a big kid bed? Imagine that, but with someone who can turn on the stove. I’ve taken to getting up when I hear him get up, and following him to the living room. I can say with confidence that the couch is not as comfortable as our bed. I don’t want to be up at 2 am. My advice for today, not that you asked: tell anyone who you know who’s been a caregiver that they are amazing. Ask anyone you know who’s being a caregiver how you can help them. They will probably say they’re fine. They are lying. They may be lying to themselves, too. They may be too exhausted and numb to know the difference between fine and not fine. It’s a hard gig. We don’t sign up for it. We find ourselves in it. We cope. We do our best. We are dog tired. I had no idea.