In college these words meant two things: parties and papers. Fun parties, where you meet new people and end up talking and drinking and having a good time until three in the morning. Or, conversely, term papers that you should have finished weeks ago, but in reality did not start until yesterday. Ah, yes, up all night.
In my twenties, I flew for United as a flight attendant. Up all night meant a red-eye flight, most likely with a tantalizing reward at the end that did not involve a hangover or a B+ final grade: a 24-hour layover in Paris or a 56-hour layover in Sydney. This kind of up all night clearly paid dividends.
Then up all night stopped. Married, no term papers, no wild parties, and enough seniority to fly during the daytime. Nights were for sleeping. Only vampires and security guards stay up all night, not me.
Two babies changed all that, with their midnight cries and aching hunger. This was the variety of up all night that you say is worth it (when your kids are five and eight years old) but at the time you whisper, “When will you sleep 12 hours straight like all the parenting books promised?” You survive on coffee and moral support, most likely given to you by well-meaning mommy-friends or perhaps your husband.
Last night we were up all night. Tall had a nasty case of food poisoning, the type where six hours to the minute after ingesting the suspect food (“It did taste funny at the restaurant, Mommy, but I was hungry,”) all the food comes back up, along with any trace of anything resembling food or liquid that has the misfortune of being in the intestinal tract. He threw up not once, but five times, each incident worse than the last. The Husband and I got him wet washcloths and new bags to vomit in, and we took turns staying with him. We would just start to doze, when his rebellious stomach would attack him yet again.
In the morning, Tall felt tired and sleepy, but his body finally felt better, normal. I placed my hand gently on his forehead, the ever-accurate Mommy Thermometer, and he smiled and whispered to me, “You’re a good mommy.”
I don’t mind up all night.