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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Not Sleepy

That makes me giggle a little. I think those words have come out of my mouth more than any others. My mother speaks of the time when I was an infant. Most babies will fall asleep while eating or shortly thereafter. I would stay awake for hours. I wasn't fussy, just not sleepy. She said it made her nervous. I would just quietly look around.

Later, as a toddler and preschooler, I would fight naps with a vengeance. My mother's solution was to read to me. Most often, she would be the one who ended up napping. I would finish the story by myself. Resting was not an issue for me. I was fine lying in bed and looking at books or coloring. Sleep just wasn't my thing.

As a preteen, Sunday was a day when everyone napped. Sleep seemed to be something one should want. So I trained myself to go to sleep for an hour or two. Inevitably, I would wake feeling frustrated, grouchy, and ill. The sensations stayed with me for three or four hours, especially the nausea. I felt the same way if I tried to sleep late in the mornings.

So in a house full of people who valued sleep, I learned to silently entertain myself until around midnight, sleep four or five hours, then wake up. I'd get ready for school, then when everyone else awoke, I'd practice the piano until the bus came. I'm pretty sure no one appreciated my practicing, but no one ever asked me to stop.

Throughout my life, I've maintained that sleep pattern. Sometimes I'll go to bed earlier, but that means I'll be up around 4:00 a.m. That's fine, I suppose, but it also means I have to be sure I don't disturb anyone while I do things. I've spent a lot of time reading during the early hours of morning. In the summertime, I'd go running and watch the sun rise. Every once in awhile, I'd try that napping thing again with disastrous results. I'm usually pretty easygoing. Naps still make me grouchy and impossible. And sick.

So it's 1:00 a.m., and I'm not sleepy. As usual.

I've been having nightmares the past few day; the kind that end up drenching me in cold sweat. That could be part of the reason I don't want to sleep tonight. There is also a sense of no longer belonging in the place I lived more than 20 years which is unsettling. And there are so many memories here. Good ones. My children were born and grew up here. It's a lovely place. And I don't belong anymore.

I will be back in my apartment on Thursday. I don't belong there, either, but it's where my clothes are. And Darrin. I belong with Darrin.

Tabitha salvaged many of the Christmas decorations I discarded when we moved. She still has them out in her apartment. One of the items she took was a wooden Rudolph I made years ago. I cut, sanded, and stained the wood, then painted on the face. There used to be fake snow atop his antlers and around his hoofs. Time has worn that away leaving splotches of white where the texture used to be. I drilled holes in the bottom of the antlers so the kids could hang candy canes in them (I know-- who hangs candy canes in reindeer antlers???). I painted on a smile and large eyes, and then, for some unknown reason, I painted a heart in the middle of his forehead instead of giving him eyebrows.

Tabitha has always loved our wooden Rudolph. She has made sure his antlers always had candy canes. She was indignant when I threw him away. I said, "Tabitha, he's old. I made him years ago." She said, "You made him. It doesn't matter when." I think that's sweet. I also don't really understand it.

So tonight Rudolph is keeping me company. I feel a bit offended by his insistent reminder that once I made crafty things and I don't even know why. He also is in desperate need of a new ribbon for the wreath around his neck. But he's quiet and doesn't disturb my thinking. AtP once accused me of thinking too much, and he might be right. That's not something that's likely to ever change.

Okay. Time for me to attempt sleep. Perhaps Rudolph will keep the nightmares at bay tonight. I'd like that.

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