Editor's note: Helen Middlebrooke's column was inadvertently left out in the Dec. 2, 2019, edition of The Guam Daily Post.

In our house, there are two rules:

Rule #1: Mom never sleeps.

Rule #2: If you should find mom sleeping, refer to Rule #1 and proceed.

That’s not entirely accurate. I do sleep. But if I were to average my sleep for the last 30 years, it would be less than five hours a night. If you look up the words “sleep deprivation” in the dictionary, you might find my picture.

Every now and then, though, I have a chance to sleep in. That is, I can actually stay in bed until 7 a.m.

And last week, thanks to the storm day off, the holiday break and the weatherman’s work schedule, I had the potential to “sleep in” four days in a row! Wow.

On the first day, The kid whom I had dragged from bed for school on Tuesday was up before 5 on Wednesday. He came into my room with the happy news that he was, indeed, awake.

On Thursday, the same kid was up early again, this time before 6. He burst into the room with breaking news: “The dog peed in the living room.” Yes, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, kid.

When I went to bed that night, I was hopeful everyone would sleep late after having such full tummies at bedtime.

Around 3:30 a.m. Friday, my phone rang. Anyone who has relatives in the states knows the instant panic that attends an early-morning call. I reached for the phone and saw the name. One of the stateside kids, who knows how to compute time zones. He was traveling. Was he in trouble?


“Hi Mom. Sorry to call now, but no one else is answering,” he said. “What’s Grandma’s apartment number?”

I gave him the number off the top of my sleepy head, but was not sure I was correct. I got up to verify it in my planner. I was right.

I tried to go back to sleep.


But his words kept echoing in my head. “No one else is answering.”

He knew I would.

They all know I will.

No matter the time.

No matter the reason.

Mom will answer.

I’m grateful that despite all my shortcomings as a mother, I’ve grown into being a mom they trust to answer, and being the mom they continue to call.

But sometimes, I wish they would just let me sleep.

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