I have never been really great at sleeping. Not really.
When I was a teenager I used to stay up all night either clandestinely reading under my covers or, a little later on when I got my own line, talking on the phone in hushed tones. Yes, that’s how old I am, I had to get my own phone line in my room to talk on privately. There were no cell phones back then, kids. Just land lines and great big phones.
Then I got married and had my babies and sleep became a bit of a punch line. Nobody really sleeps the first one, two, five years anyway, right? Multiply that by five kids in eight years and I pretty much didn’t get a full night of sleep for all of my twenties.
Then came my thirties. Ahhh. The kids were in school full time. The kids in fact were so awesome at sleeping themselves that they often did it where-ever they happened to be at the time. On the couch, on the toilet, on the floor, in the car, in the grocery cart at the store. They were little experts. And man, could they sleep. Some of my kids could sleep through so much noise I began to worry that if something happened in the middle of the night, they would sleep through it and come to harm. My own sleeping got even lighter, trying to be vigilant.
Let’s not forget how they also sabotage sleep. I can remember distinctly many nights being awoken in the wee hours to the sounds of throwing up, crying, nightmares, but hey, that’s part and partial of the job- we take care of them- and I happily stayed up to take care of the sick or scared kids. Although there were also the nights when they themselves couldn’t sleep and just decided at three in the morning to play. Loudly. Or fight. Louder.
Once, in the middle of an actual deep sleep, I remember feeling that someone was watching me. I didn’t dare open my eyes, because there is a fear that overtakes you when you’re SURE that there is a killer standing over your bed.
When I finally did dare to peek, one of my daughters was standing, face at my pillow level, staring at me. Frankly, she is lucky to be 14 now. She scared me so bad.
Of course next came the serious writing years. I often stayed up to write, or sometimes read, into the wee hours once again. Only this time I did not have the teenager ability to just carry on the next day as if four hours of sleep had no effect on me.
And now I’m 39. I rarely sleep through the night, I’m up at least once, sometimes twice. Occasionally if I awaken, it takes me ages to get back to sleep again. I know it’s all in my mind. I have a very comfortable bed – so much so that I often suggest (and he often says no) that we spend a whole Saturday or Sunday there. I love my bed. It’s my favourite place.
I just wish that I could sleep for a whole night in it. No vivid dreams, no getting up to pee. Just one whole night.
Sounds like bliss.