Wrangling Sheep

Sleep is sometimes hard to come by around here.

Between my son’s fluctuating internal rhythms, and the strain I put myself under to get everything done (especially at this time of year), counting sheep becomes a complicated calculus.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

This past Sunday, while enjoying a local production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas with my folks, the words of this song stood out to me as a challenge:

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings.

Stress-induced insomnia gave me the opportunity to try out Irving Berlin’s advice last night. Those sheep were refusing to cooperate after another frustrating IEP meeting, so I tried to transform the things that keep me up at night into reflections of our good fortune.


I perseverate on the goals and services and expectations of his current school program… But at least my son has the legal right to the education plan we’ve created. A right that parents before me fought for less than 40 years ago, mandated by the first federal law in 1975 and clarified in subsequent reauthorizations of the IDEA in the 1990s and 2004. Access to an appropriate education has only been guaranteed so recently, within my lifetime. It could be much harder.


I worry over my son’s transition to high school next year and finding the right placement for him…But at least we live in a state where options exist, if I hunt for them. Where we are not limited to negotiating within our home district, but can consider open enrollment elsewhere, or use our state’s Empowerment Scholarships to widen the possibilities.

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings.

I stress over coordinating the educational, therapeutic and medical services my son needs…But at least we have those services available to us. Not all places offer what our state does.  As frustrating as the process can be, I am grateful to have that support.


I fret about how to prepare our new habilitation and respite providers, whose agencies do not always offer enough training or oversight…But at least we seem to find compassionate and dedicated team members – people who are willing to learn about our kid, and eager to make his and our lives a little bit easier.

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds.

As the clock ticks closer to morning, the vexing problem of how to coax my child out of his warm covers to get ready for school begins to weigh on me…But at least I have my fuzzy socks.

Because those socks don’t only ward off the winter chill.  When I nudge my son out of sleep, and he invariably peeks his drowsy head over the side of the bed to see if I am wearing them, he might just give me that grin that will start our day off right.

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings.


This exercise didn’t exactly help me sleep. It did help me practice viewing these obstacles from a more positive angle.  Plus, all this late night sheep wrangling gave me a blog post, didn’t it?


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