If you’ve got your way to pray figured out, you’re so good, truly. This is for the rest of us, and for you, too, when you’re in a weird place again. (Also, if you’re not a pray-er: Hi, great to meet you and welcome to the club).

The fastest and best way I’ve learned how to pray is... I’ll give you an example. Like tonight, when we’ve all just gotten over one sickness, or are trying to, and kids start vomiting whack-a-mole style. One’s up, one’s down, up, down, up, up, down, down.

That should be enough to start talking to whatever god/goodness you believe in, but it’s not for me.

When I get interested in a higher power is when, with the night going as it is, my washing machine decides to surprise me on when it would like to perform its rinse cycle.

I am the best pray-er I know how to be at this moment: middle of the night, vomit-cleaning since 10pm, listening for every sound that will foretell the next stage of our night. Hail Mary.

I start repeating anything I can remember and also pleading, until it turns into a conversation with, “Sorry I haven’t been around, but I know you’re not petty so help me out: I only come when I’m really desperate because I’m not going to waste any time. Also, have I thanked you for the people who invented running water and bleach and Gatorade and buckets? Big thanks there.”

We put all of our Christmas decorations up last weekend and then a painter that I like had availability and I had been wanting to get this room painted and so all of the things in that room are disbursed into different areas of our home and it’s a mess — literally and figuratively.

But it’s quiet right now. This instant as I’m typing. I know from experience it won’t be by the time I hit publish. An ear ache that wrecked me last night is gone without me even praying or getting on antibiotics, but I’m not convinced it’ll stay away so I should add that next time I start praying, or just get into a doctor when I can... the vast majority of desperate prayers come in the middle of the night and from pain, I’d wager. Or while waiting for a doctor. Desperation can make you holy.

I was called for more blankets. Remember that cold feeling when you felt sick and how it took five blankets to get you warm? I don’t know how to pray, but when I want to believe in god, I think god is the five blankets tucking you in, not caring that she just had to shower off from when you puked on her. And she wouldn’t care if you talked rudely on the way home from school because she knows the whole of who you are: from her, you came. Of her, you are. With you, she is. Even at 2am. Parenthood is holy, too.

Fix my washer at least until the puke stops.



I wrote this the other night. It was the kind of night in parenthood and in life where you find out what you’ve got, in terms of strength, in you. We’ve all had a couple, I’m sure, during sicknesses, NICU stays, labor, watching loved ones take their last breaths, finishing something that must be done by morning.

They woke after last night to clean beds from a washer that either rallied or that I set wrong to begin with.

I’m awake now, in the middle of a new night, for no reason at all with the thousands of others of you who are, too. When it’s not chaos, it’s so peaceful. And amen to that.

Anne FlavinComment