In the wee small hours

Two things have happened since yesterday:

1. It's snowing AGAIN here, which I'm sure is some kind of cosmic retribution for my wearing white jeans to work yesterday. (Yes. I wore white skinny jeans--with black ruched leather flats and a royal blue peasant shirt--to work on January 28, because I'm a scofflaw.)

2. There's a really nice write-up of Ask Moxie by Allison Benedikt in a cool article about NYC bloggers in the Village Voice (venerable/venerated NYC free indie weekly): http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-01-26/news/i-blog-new-york-your-guide-to-gotham-s-lesser-known-best/9

OK, actually a lot more happened, including iPadGate, the State of the Union and analysis of it, and the fact that my kids actually fell asleep within ten minutes of going to bed. But what I want to talk about today is that bleak, creaky, sand-in-your-brain-gears, hot, searing feeling of being awake between the hours of 2 and 5 am with a child.

I can still feel it, that exact, horrifying, painful moment of being jerked awake when your body is supposed to be asleep, and I know you can, too, you fellow survivors. Sitting slumped in a rocking chair with someone you love but really don't want to see right now (but you're cherishing the moment!), thinking about other parents all over the world doing this exact same grueling, sacrificing, begrudging, joyful, resentful, numb act of love.

That moment when you twitch awake in the chair and feel the relief that you didn't drop the baby when you fell asleep, but you could have dropped the baby when you fell asleep.

Needing the coffee to be able to put on your clothes the next morning, but then having the kind of sick stomachache that comes from too much caffeine and not enough sleep.

The guilt of questioning why you did this, and wishing there was someone you could secretly tell ({[I don't know if I'd have done it if I'd known it would be like this...]})...

Wondering if it's All Your Fault, or merely all your fault, that your baby is awake this night, no different from any other night.

So. Those of you who are in the middle of this right now. Know that we know. We are not leaving you by the side of the road. But that we can't pull you along to safety. All we can do is try to leave the lights on so you can see the path we've worn, and you will use your own strong legs and good hearts and the illusion of courage that you put on every morning to get to the other side. And someday you, too, will be able to make jokes about consumer products or wonder why Chris Matthews is still allowed on TV and not feel like you're dying as you stand.

Lamentations from anyone in the middle of it? Beacons of hope or the sympathy of remembrance from anyone past it?