Lessons In Napping

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I am very happy to report that I have recovered enough from my brain surgery to watch my sweet two-year-old grandson a couple of days a week. Huzzah! Sitting at home alone recuperating has been surprisingly awful for me. I think back to my days as a working Mom of three, when I thought that the perfect week would be one with no commitments, no pressures, and not a single thing to do all day. I thought I would love sitting in my favorite chair with a cup of tea, a few good cookies, and a new book.

But I had no idea how stifling, how demoralizing, how eradicating it would feel to do that for a month or more.

I am not enjoying my time as a recovering patient. Not when I look out my window and see my overgrown, autumn-ready gardens and know that I can’t get out there to weed or prune or divide my perennials. Not when I see the stains on my upholstery and know that I can’t pull out my steam cleaner and get to work.

So now that I am well enough to have my little Maxy here a couple of days a week, I am absolutely ecstatic. I plan every week around the two days when he’ll be here with me and I will have someone to play with.


Taking care of a really energetic little boy while trying to coddle a recently jangled brain is more involved than I realized. I know that I really shouldn’t be lifting my 30lb boy, but how do you not help your favorite person climb into your lap when he’s repeating the word “hug”? How do you resist playing “where’s Max” in the crawling tunnels?

You don’t.

This means that by early afternoon it is nap time. Maybe not for Max, but definitely for Nonni. Last week when he was here, I decided that he and I should nap together in my king-sized bed. That way I wouldn’t have to lift him in and out of his crib and I’d have an excuse to sleep. I snuggled the two of us down, handed him his favorite stuffed animals, and turned on the white noise. And we both slept for over an hour.

Heaven, I tell you. Heaven. Even the dogs slept soundly beside us last week.

Yesterday was a different story. Because of a Zoom call that was set up right at nap time, we were a bit late in getting to bed. You know how toddlers can go past sleepy and emerge straight into whirling dervish mode?

Yeah. That happened.

After a busy and playful morning, I was wiped out. My back hurt, my head throbbed, my giant scar was pinchy. I had to lie down. On ice. In the dark.

So I closed the shades, got the stuffies, turned on the white noise, pulled a soft blanket over us both, and closed my eyes.

The next 30 minutes were hilarious, if not restful.

Max rolled back and forth with a stuffed moose on his chest, singing a sweet and melodic “One, hoo, free, figh!” over and over. Eventually, the missed number made me crazy so I had to insert a loud “four” in there. Alas, now he knew I was awake.

Bad mistake.

A minute later a warm arm came around my neck and I heard a whisper. “Onni, hug!” We hugged, and I told him to go to sleep. We said good night, and I closed my eyes.

This time it wasn’t an arm around me, it was a relatively large two-year-old skull that slammed into my belly. I let out a grunt.

“Hi, Onni!”

Roll over, away from the head, the hugs, and the whispers. Try to rest.

“Onni, I wuv oo. I wuv oo. I wuv oo.”

The little sneak has never said that to me before. Ever.


Roll back over, pull him close, kiss his head and tell him I love him, too.

“Now, go to sleep, Max. It’s nap time. Close your eyes.”

I close mine. Take some deep breaths.

What that I feel? Like a spiderweb on my cheek. I open my eyes to see Max’s big brown eyes about an inch from mine. His soft hair is tickling my face and his delighted grin is looming over me.

“Onni,” he is crooning, “Open oo eyes.”

I burst into a laugh, in spite of myself, gather him into my arms and ask, “You wanna get up?”

It’s OK. When we get out into the living room, he decides to play “family”. I pretend to be the tired Nonni and he tells me to lie down on the sofa, where he covers me with a blanket and I close my eyes.

This ain’t my first rodeo, kiddo!

6 thoughts on “Lessons In Napping

  1. Karen, so thrilled you are on your way to your Normal!!! Your little one is with you now to help your heart & soul and bring back the happy in your life😍 Enjoy every minute with him and take care of yourself🤗😘 Wishes for you to Be Well from now on!!!
    P.S. I could use alittle Happy & Prayer right now, i just felt I wanted to tell you because you have been so brave in sharing your journey with us and made it to the other side…but I’m not that brave and would just love some good old fashioned magic wishes & thoughts as I start on a breast cancer journey that scares me …..please if you can send some of that bravery my way my friend ♥️


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