I remember when I was a kid, sometimes my Dad would lean his head back against the couch and say, “I’m not sleeping. I’m just resting my eyes.”
It used to infuriate me. My poor Dad! Father of six very active kids, full time businessman and do-it-yourselfer extraordinaire. He hardly ever rested.
But if we had a chance to spend time with him, we didn’t want him resting his eyes! It used to make me crazy.
Now of course, I completely understand the overwhelming need to “rest my eyes.”
I’m very, very lucky. I spend my days with my granddaughter, Ellie. At 18 months old, she still takes a good, long nap every day.
And she likes me to lie down with her.
Today was a pretty typical day, except that I was unusually tired. Last night I found myself overwhelmed with the fear of our mentally unstable President. I couldn’t get myself to relax and sleep.
I have fibromyalgia, too, and its flared up right now, so most of me hurt last night.
Anyway, I was really groggy today. I had a fun morning with Ellie in spite of my fatigue. We painted, we danced, sang and listened to our favorite band, Upstate Rubdown. We filled the birdfeeders, we played with the dogs, we swept the floor (don’t judge; she loves it.)
Finally, it was nap time.
Ellie and I put away her toys, chose a favorite stuffed animal (Floppy Puppy) and a book (Go Away, Big Green Monster!) and went into the guest room to nap.
Just like my dear old Dad, as soon as I put my head on the pillow, my eyes drifted closed. As usual, Ellie was less sleepy than her Nonni. I did what I often do.
I laid on my back, clasped my hands over my waist and let my eyelids close to the point where I could watch her, but she couldn’t see that I was awake. I thought I had outsmarted her.
Here is what I saw.
Ellie sat beside me, looking at my face. I saw her look around the room. She clasped her own hands together and I could see her lips moving as she sort of quietly mumbled to herself. Her gorgeous, silky brown curls were a halo around her head, with long pieces covering her eyes.
She raised her right hand and pushed the hair out of her eyes, then gave a deep sigh. Her head tilted to the right, and she frowned as she looked closely at my face. I didn’t move.
Ellie lifted her head, sighed again, and looked around the room. The bed has a raised bed rail, and I was lying between it and Ellie. She was sort of stuck. She plucked at her blue and white striped pants, then noticed her socks.
“Hockey!” she said loudly. That’s her version of “socks.” She looked straight at me, but I didn’t move. She deliberately pulled off one sock, still looking at my face. “Oh, Oh!” she cried.
I didn’t react. I’m good.
“More!” Ellie announced, and pulled off the other sock. She looked at me expectantly.
Nothing. I kept my eyes closed just to the point where I could still see her face.
She rested her chin on one hand, still looking at her unmoving Nonni. She touched my nose.
Suddenly, as if there was actually a lightbulb above her head, Ellie sat up straight. She wiggled a little bit closer to me, then suddenly leaned forward and planted a big smacking kiss right on my lips.
I burst out laughing, my eyes popped open, and I grabbed her around the waist.
“You win!” I said, and she giggled in victory.
Then she pushed my shoulder so that I’d lay back down. She grabbed her puppy under her right arm and rested her head on my chest. She immediately fell asleep, and so did I.
And here is what I’m thinking now, as I think back on this day.
If I had never had a single happy moment in my 60 years of life, those five minutes would have made my entire life worth it.
Ellie, you are pure joy.