September 30, 2015

In Other Words

I miss sleep.

I’ve always liked sleep. And, I think, sleep has always liked me.

We used to have a close, lovely relationship. Drifting off after a day spent outdoors playing, or after a long and magnificently full school day. Falling into bed after a soccer game and shower, with feet and hair still damp. Falling asleep slowly and peacefully after finishing up an article. And even nodding off after feeding one of my children during their infancy was blessed connection with sleep.

Sleep would often give me gifts: fanciful and extravagant dreams, a sense of well-being upon waking up, renewed energy. Yes, sleep and I had a good thing going.

Things have changed. We’ve grown apart. I miss you, sleep.

Life interrupted. It’s made me a bit cranky.

I’d shake my fist at life, but even in my sleep-deprived state I know it won’t help. And giving a side-eye to well-meaning friends—who exhort the benefits of going to bed early after a soothing bath, herbal tea, and a foot massage from the hubby—won’t help either.

I fully agree with Psalm 127:2: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (KJV). But here’s what happens:

At any given early-morning hour—on any given day of week—one of three children will meander to my bedside. I think it scares them a little when I open my eyes and say “Yes?” before they’ve spoken. I know it scares them when I lurch crazily to my feet and stagger down the hall to help them: get water to drink; clean up sickness; pray; soothe growing pains away; determine that the van lights they saw outside don’t belong to a robber; make sure there aren’t spiders in their bed; work away nightmare fears; and answer questions (I’ve been asked the meaning of life at 2:45 a.m.).

Being responsible for three other little humans, maintaining a household with bills, bills, bills, and functioning intellectually at a demanding and stimulating occupation (thank the Lord I like my job!) leaves sleep staring at me from the sidelines as I set up online bill pay, get lunches ready, wash dishes . . .

Reality: at 7:00 p.m. we are just finishing dinner and/or homework; children are creating messes, drama—or both; hubby is getting ready for work; and I’m looking for errant water bottles and backpacks, and policing the shower lineup.

By 10:00 p.m. I’m usually free. But not to sleep.

Sometimes sleep will jump in, and I’ll find myself snoozing, at 12:30 a.m., while sitting on the sofa with remote in hand and workout shoes on my feet. Or I’ll have laundered socks on my lap that didn’t make it into the ready-to-put-away pile.

I’ll stagger upstairs and flop into bed, only sometimes sans sneakers. Then sleep is there, and I’m loving it.

That is, until 2:00 a.m., when someone needs me to, well, you know. Something.

I miss sleep, but I think our future is bright. Maybe once the kids are off to college? Maybe when I’m retired? Maybe (hoping and praying) sooner than that!

I’m looking forward to heaven—and never being tired again.

Kimberly Luste Maran is an assistant editor of Adventist Review—and a person who appreciates a good power nap.