Who Am I Kidding?


As a slightly past middle aged woman, I know what it is to deal with insomnia. Sometimes I lie down at 9 pm and I’m asleep at 9:03. Of course, on nights like that one I wake up at 10:30, 11:03, 1:35 and 3:40 before getting up at 6:30.

But there are other nights where I toss and turn from 10 to 2 and finally fall asleep at 3, only to wake up at 6 with a headache.

So why in the world would I even consider sleeping with not only my aging husband of 40 years, but also our two dogs?

Why?

It. Makes. No. Sense.

This is my typical night, just so that you understand the pressures at work here.

I go to bed. Paul is in the living room, watching sports. The dogs, Lennie and Bentley, are beside him on the couch. I settle into my bed, ice pack in place on my lower back. I sigh. I settle back. I curl up on my left side.

And I hear the inevitable “ticky-ticky-tick” of Lennie’s claws as he comes down the hall. I lie still on my pillow. Lennie jumps nimbly onto the bed and settles himself into a tight curl somewhere around my legs. I fall asleep to the sound of Lennie’s gentle, rhythmic breathing.

I come awake again around midnight. The covers are now tight around me, and my butt is exposed to the cool night air. I can tell, as I roll over, that Paul has come to bed and is sound asleep beside me. Lennie is still at my feet, on top of the covers.

But Bentley is stretched out to his full length on top of the covers between Paul and I. He is happily dreaming and is totally at peace.

I roll onto my right side, slightly annoyed that I am lacking coverage on my chilly old bottom. I try to pull up the blankets, but find that I am thwarted by the two dogs who are snoring on top of the quilt.

“OK”, I think, “This is ridiculous. I need to sleep. I need my blankets. I need my bed.” I get up, thinking that I will go to the bathroom and then come back to dislodge the hounds and reestablish my human superiority.

I walk back to the bed, my phone in my hand for light. I see Lennie, curled up and sleeping like a baby at the foot of the bed.

Lennie

Gah! Why are you waking me up???

I decide that he’s OK. I mean, he’s only at the foot of the bed. He isn’t really impacting my sleep. Much.

So I turn to the other guy. To the soft, sweet, silky puppy who insists on sleeping so close to me that we seem to be fusing at the spine.

“You need to move!”, I hiss, as I slip back under the covers. “I am really REALLY tired!”

I push him off of me.

He softly and silently turns into everyone’s favorite stuffed animal. He melts. He becomes totally inert. He shloops himself onto my chest.

Benney

“Ugh”, I whisper. “Get OFF!”

He snuggles just a tiny bit closer. He lifts his soft, silky snout up toward my cheek. He lays his head against mine.

“Sfhshshsfsh” he breathes into my ear.

I try to resist. I do. I straighten my spine. He straightens his and continues to breathe into my ear.

I want to be strong. I want to move him off of the bed and onto the floor. I mean, seriously! What kind of badass woman lets herself be pushed around by a puppy?

I wait for just a second. The warm, soft fur lying against my neck feels good. The gently repetitive breathing on my cheek is oddly reassuring.

“I’ll get you guys off in a minute.” I tell myself.

Then I curl onto my side, feeling Lennie’s warmth against my feet. I sigh, and pull the covers up over my shoulders. As I do, I realize that Bentley is under those covers, his softly sleepy head resting next to mine on the pillow.

We all fall asleep.

I’m a soft touch. I’m a jerk. I’m an aging old lady who loves waking up in the middle of the night with both arms around a warm little body.

Yeesh.

Who am I kidding?

I’d rather sleep with these snoring, shedding, gassy little guys than without them. And that’s the honest truth.

Two forty, AM


Two forty.

The house is cold.  There is snow outside, coating the trees and the fence.

The world is silent.

My eyes are heavy, and want to close. I turn onto my right side, curl my knees just so to ease the aching in my back.  I slow my breath. I imagine sleep.

The trick, I know, is not to think of sleep, not directly.  If I chase it, it will slip away in a little spurt of alertness, replaced at once by the awareness that I am most certainly not really sleeping.  The trick, I have learned, is to lie in readiness for sleep, to be open to it when it creeps in.

I begin to drift away on an almost dream of summer winds, but then I notice that I have drifted, and sleep runs away again.

A turn to my left side now, adjust the pillow, think of ocean waves.  Relax, let go, just let it come and take me.

I float for a moment, filled with lightness, empty of thought. I see a student, one of my struggling souls. Worry rushes in, pushing out the light.  I crash back to earth with a racing heart.  Minutes drag by as I try and fail to turn my thoughts away from this child, away from the day, away from the TV news that is no doubt a part of his acting out.

My eyes are so heavy.  They want so much to close and rest.  I let the lids fall, but I find that I am still looking out into the cloudy night.  Is there more snow falling now?

I turn onto my right side, hand under my cheek.

I try to let myself drift. I wait for sleep.

Dawn comes.

Deliciousness


 

I’m having the midwinter blues.

I know; its been a strangely mild and nearly snowless season.  But its still February.

Its still dark out. Its all still gray and lifeless and dull.

The world where I live is still icy and filled with headcolds and black ice and freezing rain. Yuck. Big yuck.

So when I can’t sleep, I try to imagine sensory images that are filled with life and deliciousness, just to snap myself out of my funk.  Here some delicious thoughts that came to me last night, between 2 and 4AM.

1. The first sip of hot, strong coffee.

2. The taste of a calamata olive, crushed between tongue and palate.

3. A sip of shiraz and a bite of romano cheese, taken together.

4. Moonlight.

5. The feel of Tucker’s silky ears.

6. The smell of the thawing earth.

7. Beach sand.  Very soft beach sand.

8. A perfectly fresh, just opened cherrystone clam on a very hot afternoon. Preferably while sitting on a boat and sipping champagne, but that one I’ll take any way I can get it.

9. Distant lightning when I’m in a safe place.

10. The sound of kids laughing.

OK. I think I’m ready for the day.  I have already enjoyed numbers 1 and 5.  My lunch has number 2 in it, and every day is filled with number 10.  So I guess I can hang on until numbers 6 through 9 happen again!!