soldier tattoo

The 4am Post

I began this post at 4am.  I was tossing and turning in bed, thinking about what to write, before I decided to get up and actually write.  My eyes sting, my bladder is full, but  it doesn’t matter, right now I must write.  I slipped into my office and eased into my chair.  It’s a big, leathery, chair on those wheels not meant for plush carpets.  It sticks as I try to inch closer to my desk.  I can hear my dog get up.  She probably hears the typing.  I hear the jingle of her collar and her name plate, as she gets up and shakes out her fur.  The door creaks as she pushes it with her nose, scampers in, and grunts at me.  Her grunt says, “What are you doing?  It’s too early.  We don’t write, just yet.  We have a few more hours.”

I stroke her head and calm her down.  I get up and pull her bed in from the living room.  She’s used to sitting in my office with me while I write.  Immediately, she gets in the bed and calmly goes back to sleep.  Routine.  Little things, they all love routine.

I remember a show I had attended about a year ago.  I was living in Europe, but had been called to Los Angeles for a fairly big job.  I flew out and stayed with an old friend of mine.  The old friend is someone I went to school with.  She is someone that were it not for our long history, I’m sure I’d never be friends with now.  She is someone who, unfortunately for her above all else, has never grown.  She’s emotionally still exactly where she was in college.  I am not.  I’m proud of that.  I’ve worked on myself and though I still fail constantly, I love who I am and where I am going.

But, back to the show.  I remember a particular comedian on stage.  For me to remember a comedian at this point, is a big deal.  Comedy has become such background noise for me, which is in keeping with how long I’ve done it.  I’m like the girl who has worked at the bakery.  “How do you stand it?” people might think.  “How do you work at a place with all those fresh donuts and cakes and pastries and not go crazy stuffing your face with them?”  To the woman who’s worked at the bakery for years, they’re not fresh.  They are everyday.  It would take a damn good donut or just the right donut to break through her donut malaise.


This place is called "Psycho Donuts". I'm not kidding. They have a donut called, "Cereal Killer".


So, I’m watching this comedian in my comedy malaise.  He’s just a regular guy.  He’s a good comic, but not a spectacular one.  He’s just a young, regular, guy who works as a newly employed writer for some kind of women’s network.  He talks about his wife and his newborn baby and living up in the Hollywood Hills.  He’s not a rich guy.  He’s not a famous guy.  He’s just a guy.  What he says next, though, cuts right through me.  He talks about walking up in the hills with his newborn and his wife and wanting a machete.  He wants a machete because he’s filled with so much love for his newborn and his wife that  he wants to protect them at all costs.  He wants to protect them against unseen and most likely invented threats.  He loves so fully that his love has made him paranoid and protective.  He says this all in a hysterical way that is truly funny, but it’s the realness of it that reaches me.

At a certain point in your life, if you’re doing things right, one realization becomes just about the easiest thing to understand.  You realize that life is about loving ONE person WELL.  If you can do that right then you have succeeded.  I am lucky enough to have that gift or at least the gift of working on that gift.  That is if you consider lucky to mean a word that signifies having worked for something, which seems to be the exact opposite of lucky.  So, I suppose I’m the one who gets the thing when she does stuff right.  I’ve won the life prize.  A family I adore.

Now, it doesn’t stop the struggle.  It doesn’t stop the life fight.  I’m still up at 4am wondering what to write.  I break out in night sweats at the thought of securing just the right job.  I worry about my family.  I even wonder about evolution.  When Wifesy sees someone engaging in incredible cruelness, for example, when they bring in a dog howling in pain with a broken leg, but yet the owner is more concerned about the dog’s fleas, she sees that person as less evolved.  That’s how her (and another mutual friend of ours) make it not okay per se, but understandable in their brains.  They think, “that person just hasn’t reached a particular place on the evolutionary scale of things.”

I’m not that much of an optimist.  I can not look at someone who seems to have no mental retardation and see them as retarded.  I can not look at someone who engages in cruelty and think, “they’re just not there yet.”  I do something else entirely.  I attach the cruelty to them and I hold them responsible.



I understand the guy with the machete.  He’s already fought long and hard to find the right fit for himself.  Then he’s created a little something in his own image.  So, whether real or imagined, he’s swinging at whatever is in front of him hoping to keep them safe.  I understand this guy.  I am his female counterpart.  I protect what I love.  I’ll take up a sword and help any man or woman protect what is theirs.  It might be a baby or a woman or a dog or even a creative project – a labor of love, of sorts.  At 4am, as I look out the window at the incredible thickness of the black night, as the dog sleeps peacefully next to me, and Wifesy dreams in the next room, this is all I think about.



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Photo creds:  soldier tattoo, donuts, helmets

51 thoughts on “The 4am Post

  1. How ironic that I am reading this post while wiping away artificial Krispy Kreme donut glaze away from my chin.

    I have those 4 am panic attacks too. And sometimes I get up and write…or draw. That usually ends up causing me to come up with really stupid stuff as is the case for my post this morning.

    I think I need to start taking sleeping pills.

    1. i so hear you, rob. and thank you for leaving a great comment on a sort of a less funny piece. momma gets serious sometimes too! wah! weird those 4am panic attacks, huh? i swear i never had them until i had shit i cared about. looll. and who doesn’t love a krispy creme! lol. seriously, you’re the best, rob. will be hitting your blog today. xo, mother

  2. Very touching… and I agree. For me it manifested itself somewhat differently because I made having a successful relationship my number one priority. It complicates relationships when one party invests so deeply, and generally fails until you find someone else who’s looking for the same thing- but once you get there, it’s worthwhile. :D

    1. pinky, i heart you. hard. i so hear you on that. i had a friend in college who used to say to me, ‘you don’t even get involved with someone for two weeks if you’re not going to give it your whole heart. this i know about you.’ she was so dead right on that, that’s why i’ve only had a few relationships – long term ones anyway (the fly by nights are another thing entirely) because i put my whole heart into it. and until wifesy, all of it sucked. but, now it’s great, which sets one up for a whole other set of night terrors. lol. anyway, love you. and this note is only for you — ‘i’m feeling so gay today that i might have to do some kind of ACROBATIC pose’. looollll. or neurosciene, whichever. xoox

  3. I don’t consider myself a violent/angry person, but like the comedian I would do anything to protect the people that I love! The momma bear in me comes out! Lovely post!

    1. thank you, emi. i really appreciate that. i’m a lover not a fighter as well. (at least in my own mind. lol.) but, for those closest, i’m very, very momma bear. oxoxo

  4. AW Momma you are a sentimental ol’ softy.

    Sweet post. I feel like this about Dear Wife too. My life wouldn’t be my life without her in it.

    1. i am such a softie, fabs. ssssshhhhh, don’t tell anyone. we have mutal sentiments in regards to our wifesy/ wife counterparts…it’s one of the many reasons that i adore you. xo, momma

  5. ok … sorry for that! Ugh! I know those 4 am panic attacks too well … waking up and not being able to go back to sleep – the brain too active about real or perceived worries … but I also find it the best time to sort through things. It’s easier these days – as I more often than not think about how well my life is going (though I’m still the poor church mouse, I’m incredibly rich in love) and how I, too, am protective of the love in my life. Great post, mama!

    1. we are complete kindred spirits on your thought process, here, itty bit. for me, after a while at 4am, if i can’t go back to sleep, it’s just best to get up and work through it. most of these thoughts are worry for nothing. but, there’s something about them that’s very human too. that’s what i was going for here. i’m glad it resonated with a lot of you. much love, momma

    1. the feeling is mutual, stacie c. what has le clown down to you all? i have no idea, but alas, it seems to be working? looolll. really glad you liked it though, a bit of a departure from my usual stuff…so, it was nice to have it be so well received…xo, momma

  6. This is the most beautiful post I have read to date! If this is the writing that you create at 4am in the morning, you may need to start a new ‘thing.’ ;) I used to do the same thing with music.

    1. shannon, you warm momma’s heart! seriously. thank you for such a sweet comment. it’s always a bit out of my comfort zone to do the more serious stuff, but trying to keep it as authentic as possible. so, i’m really glad you liked it. much love, mother

  7. The best writing takes place early in the morning when the world is asleep and only writers and those sneaking out of bed and headed for a walk of shame are awake. Writing rises with the sun and both can give off brilliance and warmth. As to the subject, 24/7 vigilance will not completely protect those you love and it will wear you out with worry. We need to put faith in the judgment of those we love and hope that judgment keeps them out of harms way. Even then, the unexpected lurks around each corner. So, crawl back into bed, SweetM, and cuddle and be grateful for this day and this moment. All joy in realizing that each moment is sacred when we are with the one we love. HF

    1. My baby girl is 25 now and it’s still an effort to trust that when she goes out she will come home again, safe and sound but I’ve learned that you don’t protect those you love by clipping their wings. My tiny mite of a baby is flying high and living a good life :) I still run around with a whopping big net sometimes but she rarely needs it. Life is good.

    2. a beautifully charming comment, as always, hf. i fear sleep has escaped me today. but, it should mean i’ll sleep like a baby tonight! at least one can hope. lol. and you’re right, nothing is certain. best to appreciate the moment. i think we both do that well. much love, mother

  8. I think we all have those moments … last night at 1am i was woken out of a sleep in order to write a poem that to this moment I’m not sure why I had to to write it. Maybe just to reaffirm that I can write??

    Existential questions for a Monday morning, Momma … much love, GC

    1. i know. so strange. at the risk of sounding totally cheesy, there are moments when i force myself to write and then other moments where i’m called to it… do you know what i mean? where something else makes me go there… it was like that in the wee, early hours of the morning, today. much love, gills. mother

      1. I know exactly what you mean about a calling. I used to write poetry and my creative time was 2am. I still have flashes of poetry that call to be written but alas I seldom have the time to put the thought into words before it fades. Sad!

  9. There is always something/someone you adore so much that you just can’t explain it.
    Well, an early morning piece is what I love and hence, I loved this piece as well. :)

  10. Right there with you in attaching cruelty to people and holding them responsible. And I’d take a machete to anyone who tried to hurt my little pack as well. xoxo Mme Weebles

  11. SM! You big ‘ol softy.

    To love someone so deeply that you’d kill another to protect them is serious business, and something I think a lot of us can relate to. I’m lucky enough to have a few people I feel this way about, and if anything ever happened to them I would spend my life trying to make it right.

    You’re wonderful.

    1. tonic, the feeling is mutual. and yes, i have squishy insides sometimes. sssshhhhh. christ, i’m letting it be too known, but feck it. i may get hit by a shark tomorrow. could happen. they’re leaping out of the ocean over here. anyway, i heart you and love seeing you here. much love, mother

  12. You were very introspective this morning, it appears. I like it! And I definitely hear what you’re saying. Like you, I will protect my baby cubs like nothing else.

  13. My wife is currently pregnant with our first child. She’s barely in to the second trimester and I’m already so “machete clad” I can’t imagine what life will be like come next fall.

  14. I know how you feel, I really do. I love my hubby! :)
    I love that he loves me and would protect me from anything :)
    I like both your romantic and funny sides Sweet Mother, they compliment each other very well! I’m sure Wifesy feels very very lucky to have you <3

  15. That’s something I’ve seen in myself. I’m a quiet, gentle person, but since I’ve had my two boys, I’ve seen something in myself. I’ve seen that if someone attempted to hurt them, I could rip that person to pieces with my hands without thinking twice about it. It’s a crazy protective rage that didn’t manifest until I had two little people worth protecting.

  16. I’m right there with you on the attaching cruelty to people and holding them to account for it — and on the overwhelming protective instinct I have to those who are nearest and dearest. Peace be with you, SM. — Kelly

  17. I loved this post…I so get the machete too. Whenever I watch anything that has a bully character, I start to talk about if anyone ever bullied my son, I would run them over with tank with machetes strapped to the wheels, and I get so so angry, like it’s actually happening or something. I love him so much that it makes me go crazy.

  18. Loved this one.

    I totally understand the machete thing. The only thing that matters in life is my family, mess with it at your peril. I am the mumma t-rex!

    A great bit of writing :)

  19. Fight on Sweets, fight on! I’ve always fought for those I love, the underdog, or just those in need of justice, unable to fight for themselves. I think you can be a lover and a fighter from the same mold.

  20. “I protect what I love” it’s beautiful. I feel I can protect what I love too and whoever I love, but I just wish I can protect myself. Maybe i just don’t love myself

    1. aw, nikky, i can tell ya – momma loves you. so, PLEASE love yourself. i give you permission. it’s the most important thing you can do. much love, sm

  21. This is the 2nd time I’ve commented. Getting addicted to your blog. I like the introduction about your routine with your dog-most of us who have dogs know what that’s like. They all have routines they like, My dachshund likes be covered up every evening and lay in his bed, close to my computer while I write, and scratch him on the neck once in a while. I wonder if they are related. Anyway I appreciated that little slice of life. It showed a very gentle side of you. Write on

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