Tuesday, November 18, 2008

$10 of sleep, hold the meth

I've always been a napper. I trace it back to my last year in high school, when I started at 7 and finished by noon. After lunch, I'd curl up on the couch and take a little snooze until my afternoon choir class. I made time for naps in college, naps when I worked part-time post-college, naps during grad school. Even after the kids were born, I'd go so far as to lay down with my baby just so we could both get some shut-eye.

And then they got bigger. Their schedules got less predicable. We moved into the realm where I couldn't sleep with them and they often wouldn't sleep without me. Soon, I found that I couldn't get to sleep in the small window I found during which both naps overlapped. And after awhile, after countless attempted naps, I accepted that the opportunity and ability had passed.

But the odd thing is, I still try. I know, logically, that I don't have the time to fall asleep, that they won't be quiet long enough, that I will stir at the slightest noise, keeping myself just that little step away from sleep. And most days I'm good to get some exercise or clean the house or do something that perks me up and brushes away the sleepy cobwebs from my mind.

When I'm sick, though, or have only gotten a few hours of sleep--or, as in today, both--I still lay down. I can't help it. Exhaustion seeps through my bones and drags me to my bed. And I let it, even though I will climb out for every child's call with a grumble, that I will eventually get up feeling groggy and frustrated and sleepier than I did before I laid down. Why torture myself? Because the mere thought that I might just sleep is too tempting. My mind's eye brings forth an hour's nap from which I wake refreshed and re-energized, so much more thrilled to play with the kids, filled with so much more excitement for our afternoon. It conjures up pictures of a fun afternoon with play and walks and laughter, such a stark contrast to the dragging crawl of the morning.

It's like an addict looking for their next hit, only for a mom it's sleep: perfectly legal, healthy, and beneficial. If only you could buy it on a street corner and smoke it in 30 seconds while the kids are eating a snack.

I like to remind myself, even when I've lurched crankily out of bed, that my actions reflect a deep hope that maybe things will be different, just this once. More often, though, I see myself as a mouse in a maze, endlessly pounding my head at a blocked corridor when I should really just turn around and try a whole other route. But it might work, right? Just this once?

1 comment:

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