An Excerpt from the new book Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi, by Brian Leaf.
Someone else would simply get out of bed, pee, and blithely head off to their cushion.
To do this, I must pull off a CIA operation.
I must remove the covers, inch by inch — in the dead of night our comforter sounds like a crinkly bag of potato chips. I must crawl to the edge of the bed (our bed is pinned against the wall to make room for Benji’s changing table). I must step off, and in the pitch-black, follow the border of the bed frame.
I must round the corner of the bed, where someone who designed our bed has very cruelly placed a jutting protuberance at exactly shin height. At five in the morning I forget this every time. I must stifle my cries. Power through the pain. Eyes tearing, I round the corner and toe the balance-beam width between Benji’s changing table and our bed, ever careful, ninja-like, to step lightly.
I am almost out. But now I face my greatest challenge. The small distance between me and the door, maybe five feet, is a minefield of creaky floorboards. Gwen has them memorized. For some reason I do not. At first I pause to consider my options, and then I panic, sprinting the short distance to the door. My feet land extraheavy, and the floorboards creak like mad…yet no one awakens. Hashtag grateful.
On the way out, I shut the door in one motion, careful that it does not squeak, promising to myself that today is the day I will remember to oil the hinges.
Failure in this operation is not an option. Benji is not sleeping more than two hours at a stretch. Neither, therefore, is Gwen. She is grumpy. I must not wake her or Benji.
If stage one of OPERATION MEDITATION goes well, I can leave the room with Benji and Gwen still asleep. Now I’m in the hallway. I must pass Noah’s doorway without him stirring. He can sense me. I must cloak my scent, my very energy signature. Any stirrings, and he will roll over and groggily say something like, “Dad, lie with me.” Which is lovely. Truly. But it’s not why I am out of bed. I am heading to my cushion to meditate. Plus, Noah’s bed is two inches too short for me. So I cannot stretch out my legs and I won’t fall asleep. I will lie there listening to him sleep. Content, but wishing I were meditating or asleep in my own bed.
Alternatively, he could wake up and be alert for the day. Unacceptable. Waking at five to cuddle or meditate is one thing. But art projects and Monopoly are another.
Before I can meditate I must pee. Meditation cannot happen otherwise. The bathroom is opposite Noah’s room. I shut his door. Do I also shut the bathroom door and risk a squeak? This one is a judgment call. More art than science. Today I leave it open.
I lift the toilet seat. I pee. To minimize noise, I aim just above the border of the water and the porcelain. Thirty-eight years of standing pees have trained me for this moment. I execute it flawlessly and lower the seat without a clank.
At this point I consider heading back to the lion’s den, back to my cozy flannel sheets. This is madness. Gwen and Benji are certain to stir.
Don’t do it, I thought-scream at myself as I turn left out of the bathroom. Past Noah’s room. Down the hallway. Into my bedroom. Over the creaky floorboards. Around the bed frame. I climb in. Under the crinkly comforter. Ahh. I close my eyes.
I am in big trouble.
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Brian Leaf is the author of Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi and Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He has studied, practiced, and taught yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda for twenty-three years. Visit him online at http://www.misadventures-