The other day I heard the lyrics to a funny song and couldn’t get it out of my head. Sing along to “That’s Amore”, it says “When the moon hits your eye, like it’s 4:45 am, it’s November. “
It has been spinning in my brain ever since. At first I thought it was funny, but now it’s just sad, mainly because it’s so true. I swear it was dark the other night because midnight to 4 p.m. I was ready to go to bed at 6:30 p.m. Naturally, I forced myself to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime, but the urge to crawl to bed was real.
I have felt sleep deprived since we set the clock back a few weeks ago. Of course, having the full moon shining directly at my window these past few nights doesn’t help matters. So I decided to protect my eyes with a sleep mask. I look like a real diva in my pink furry glasses, and I’m not sure it helps, but at this point I’ll try anything.
My ability to fall asleep was legendary. For years, I used to joke that it was my super power. I would brag about it to anyone who wants to hear it. Family and friends teased each other, “How can someone fall asleep so fast?” Don’t you have any ideas? I would shrug my shoulders and give the short answer, “Apparently not.” “
For decades, I slept like a baby. As soon as I got into bed and turned off the light, I was, well, turned off like a light. During the night I barely moved a muscle and woke up in the morning refreshed and ready to go. I really felt sorry for the insomniacs I knew who tried darkening shades, melatonin, Tylenol PM and whatever they thought could give them an edge to get to Dreamland.
Ironically, I slept better when my daughter was a baby than today. Even when Elizabeth was a baby, completely disrupting our world – and our sleep cycle – I persevered. But lately that has all changed. Bedtime is becoming my kryptonite. Instead of looking forward to it, I’m starting to dread it.
I am convinced that I am tired until I touch the sheets. That’s when my mind goes to work. It’s not uncommon for me to turn on the light three times to take notes on a Post-It pad on the bedside table. There are items to add to the shopping list, appointments to confirm, and email responses to write. But, most of the time, I jot down reminders – things to pack, messages to relay and errands to do.
If I finally manage to fall asleep, it doesn’t take long for me to wake up completely. Why am I awake? In the past, there would have been a reason. Now I’m just awake. So I went through a mental checklist: Did I put the laundry in the dryer, run the dishwasher, and lock the back door? What is the program for the day ahead? Am I forgetting something?
Needless to say, I miss the carefree days of my youth. At that time, I could close my eyes anytime, anywhere and catch 40 winks. It was paradise. Well, except the one time I fell asleep at the wheel and hit a snow bank. But you understand my drift.
Even when my daughter was a baby, I could get up to take care of her at night and fall back to sleep in a flash. He was a life saver.
During those long, beautiful days when I was at home with my little one, I would often say after lunch: “Let’s go take a nap in mom’s bed, will you?” She would go, only because she had to, and in a few moments, I would be sound asleep. She was pushing me, pushing me and pulling my hair until she was finally convinced that I was really asleep. Then she too would fall asleep.
Two or three delicious hours later, we would wake up to the sound of my husband walking out of the front door from work.
“I didn’t sleep very well,” she said, rubbing her eyes. It made me laugh every time.
Once she got too big for her crib, she would leave her bed each night and join us in ours. She struggled and sometimes ended up sleeping horizontally between me and my husband. We joked that we looked like the letter “H” in the bed. His feet would be propped up against Tim’s rib cage and his head would be nestled in my abdomen. In those years, we’ve been kicked, punched, nudged, and headed more times than I can count. Still, I dozed off.
Sometimes she slept on the covers, immobilizing us where we slept. It didn’t bother me at all. Once her leg somehow got into my pajama bottoms and she was shaking wildly. I woke up, took it off my pajamas and fell asleep again.
Elizabeth dozed off in our room for a while. She would come in, say something strange, then turn on her heel and go back to bed. Other nights we could hear him in his room, talking in his sleep. She was talking about friends, lost toys, and other nighttime worries.
Several times we woke up to find her standing at the foot of our bed, looking like a little white ghost in her nightgown. I’m not going to lie, she scared us the first few times it happened.
How the hell did I get to sleep during those years, but now I can’t get a good night’s sleep? I know that as people get older, they don’t need to get as much sleep anymore. Could it be that I’m already starting to make do with five or six hours a night?
I hope that once I adjust to the time change, I’ll be back to my old self, dozing through the night like Rip Van Winkle.
I told my husband about it. He laughed and reminded me that our teenager is starting driver education next week. God help us, I may never sleep again.
And the rhythm continues.