Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Death of Sleep

I was just on the cusp of slipping off to sleep a couple nights ago when I was jarred back to the land of the living.

The source of this disturbance in the force was the boy and, really, it wasn't a disturbance at all.

Through the silence that typically envelops our home around midnight the boy exhaled once, loudly, profoundly and emphatically what had to be a jaw-stretching yawn.

While loud and inescapable, that noise was also pillowy and warm. He even followed it up with a cute, satisfied "Nom-nom-nom," sound.

He'd been nestled in his crib for several hours and was fast asleep. He was comfortable, cozy and gratified in his slumber. And, just several yards away, I couldn't help but admire — and envy — his state.

Perhaps I make noises similar to the boy's while sleeping, though I doubt it.
Of course the worst thing one can do when
they're struggling to sleep is also the first
thing they want to do: know the time.

I know I snore. The scars on my back where Mrs. Blackwell hits me in my sleep, tell me so.

In fact, I can't remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed or anything close to resembling such a state.

Going further with this chain of thought, I'm confident that I haven't had what I used to call a "good night's sleep" in years.

As a teenager I could sleep for 13 hours at a time and, when mom wasn't cracking the whip to wake me and my brothers up, I did just that.

So there I was: in a dark room, lying in a big, comfortable bed, with cool air being pumped into my home and a fan above me.

Many of the creature comforts some of us take for granted were at my disposal. For a change, Mrs. Blackwell wasn't snoring; so the stage was set for a good night's sleep, yet I couldn't.

Under these circumstances, quiet, comfortable and alone with one's thoughts, you'd think sleep would be inevitable. But at some point being "alone with my thoughts" was no longer a recipe for peace of mind.

To the contrary, at some point, being alone with my thoughts became the same thing as having a circus whirling through my head.

"Yes, it's dark and cool and comfortable in here but, what about that presentation for work tomorrow? What about that noise my car is making? How much is that going to cost us? And, speaking of money, I've got to go buy new coach lights for the house. Shoot! The lights! Did I turn on the lights in front of the house? If they're off this place looks like a bullseye for burglars."

And that's only about 30 seconds-worth of dialogue.

Once again, a quick Google search reveals someone else
thinking the exact same as me. Thanks Internet.
Extrapolate that desperation, sprinkle in some bigger, more serious worries (stuff we all think about but seldom discuss) about life and loved ones and you can see how this doesn't exactly translate into a good night's rest, nor a bright-eyed and bushy tailed start to the day.

So reality is now staring me in the face: sleep is something that I only occasionally do now.

Most of the time it's all of the above and any number of noises, dreams or trips to the bathroom that conspire to deliver what I usually get, which is a re-charge, just enough to get me through the next day.

Mrs. Blackwell is no different, though she has been sleeping more during her pregnancy (she's at 18 weeks now by the way). We regularly inquire with one another to determine if we've slept well. Most often the quantity outstrips the quality.

This — all of this — even the act of writing this post danced through my head the other night after I heard the boy's beautiful, loud yawn.

Then I thought about him. I thought about how fortunate he was to be so comfortable, so worry free, so at peace that he could let out such a beautiful yawn and follow it up with that "Nom-nom-nom."

No sooner had I worked all this out in my head then he yawned again, almost identical to the previous yawn — in other words, beautifully, peacefully, perfectly.

"How great," I thought to myself, "that I had something to do with that."

And a short time later, I was fast asleep.

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