The Night Shift

The battle with jet lag has begun.  It’s not looking good for the home team.


People often ask me how we do the long flights with small children.  It is an overwhelming idea – keeping your sanity with a 3 year old and a 5 month old for 30 plus hours of travel.  As we walked through the Shanghai airport to get on our last flight, Macy asked me where we were going.  To get on one more plane, I told her.  She cried.

I wanted to cry too.

It is only by the grace of God that we make it.  God is always so evident on these trips – all of our flights left more or less on time, all of our luggage made the trip, and Macy and Selah slept about half of the travel time.  Thank you Father for these small blessings.

In one way, the flights are not the hardest part.  No matter how long they feel, they have an ending.  Eventually, you will get off the plane.  You will make it home.  And then the real fun begins.

We landed around 1 am.  By 2 am, we were in our apartment, luggage in tow.  Macy was ecstatic to see her toys again – she’s been asking me about her Dora and her Ernie (yes, James, she does love that Ernie) and that kept her occupied while Jeff and I set our house back up – turning gas/water back on, unpacking necessary toiletries, heating up food that Ayi had made (bless her).  Around 3, we all took quick showers.  And at 3:30 or so, I brushed Macy’s teeth and told her it was time to go to bed.

If only.

At 4, we ended up all in the same bed.  Macy began to cry.  I settled her down.  Selah began to cry.  Jeff got up and walked her around.  Macy cried some more.

While we were home, my aunt told me that when her daughter was little, she used to throw tantrums every time they got into the car.  They couldn’t figure out what was wrong and all they could do was let her throw her tantrums. Later, they figured out that she was car sick but was too little to communicate that she felt sick.

I thought of this while Macy cried and cried at 4:30 in the morning.  She was so tired and yet couldn’t communicate how frustrated she felt.  It’s hard to be that tired and not be able to sleep.  I prayed for patience.  I prayed for my little girl to be able to get some rest.  I started singing, “He’s Got the Whole World”, but with people’s names.  We often do this for fun – He’s got Macy and Selah in His Hands, He’s got Mommy and Daddy in His Hands – but at 4:30 it became a reminder that we ARE in His hands.  I sang it over and over and finally she started to settle down.  I could feel her body relax and knew she would be able to sleep.  I prayed for her again and put her in her bed.  Thank you, Jesus.

It was 5 am.

Ayi was coming at 8, so we decided to wake Macy up so that she would get to go outside and play and have a “normal” day, hoping this would help her to sleep better through the night.

After a long nap and a Heffalump evening treat, she was back in bed by 8:30.  It was the latest I could keep her up.

At 1 am, I heard her voice.

Poor baby.

We ate a snack, played Legos, did puzzles and watched a Dora.  By 4ish, she was back down.

And then Selah woke up.  She’d gotten her night’s sleep and was ready to play.

Reality is better than fiction – I couldn’t write a better story if I tried.  My girls really know how to tag-team.  It’s innate.

Needless to say, by 9 am I was ready for bed.

Oh, jet lag.  Today the victory is yours.


One thought on “The Night Shift

  1. i feel ya! and because i’ve been in your shoes i say from the depths of my heart “i am so sorry”… sometimes life is hard, and sometimes life is really, really hard. and sleep deprivation lends itself to the hardest of hard. hoping you ALL get good sleep soon.
    p.s. when we came back from our 3 week vacation we brought back 3 adults, totally dependent on us. it was like we suddenly had 5 children – all while we were jet lagged (but they of course got their cat naps in)! word to the wise from the foolish: don’t bring people back with you to “help” with jetlag. 😉

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