A familiar feeling hits me as I sleepily walk to the kitchen at 4am for my customary post-breastfeeding glass of water. No, it’s not the one of pure exhaustion that only a newly-minted parent can understand. This is a more nostalgic, slightly giddy feeling that was a norm for me just last year.
A year ago, I was still living my complete other life in Madrid, Spain. Waking at 4am used to mean something different. It meant that I was about to have a day of adventure and travel. A 4am wake-up call meant excitement. Of course, my love for sleep could only be overridden by a reason such as this.
Maybe it is this new state of tired delirium that right now I can almost hear my alarm go off for a 4am wake-up call. (I insist that we can make it to the station by 6 with 30 minutes extra sleep, but my husband wants to be safe). I am groggy but the anticipation for a new place to explore brings energy was I go through a final item check and last-minute packing of toiletries.
In an hour or so, I step out into a still sleeping barrio (cuz, honestly, who wakes up early on a weekend when Spaniards don’t start partying till 2am), then hop the metro for the train station. On the ride over, you can see folks headed home from a night/early morning out with friends. There are also others who have the same eagerness in their eyes, riding the metro with their bags packed. We all make or exodus out of the subway car when we get to the train station, ready for whatever adventure the weekend brings.
Those days are now over. That chapter in my life was brief. It feels like the hint of a dream from long ago. Who could have predicted 11 months ago when we decided to move to NYC that those moments would be replaced by these types of 4ams? Instead of walking around my apartment for a final check before locking the door, I now have a newborn child cradled in my arms for a night feeding. It’s a different sentiment. Another type of excitement. It is also far more uncharted and uncertain than any travel could ever bring to me.