Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whatever happened to my REM

When Sweet Husband and I started dating, we were working nights at a local restaurant. On a typical weekend I would get off of work at 5am. Occasionally I would get lucky, and get released at 2 am. As a survival mechanism, I learned a few skills to get me through my blurry eyed, sleep-deprived weekends. Especially the wee hours of the morning. After all the bars had last call, and the inebriated had satisfied their cravings for hamburgers and pancakes.
I studied lyrics to lesser known Disney songs, for our impromptu Disney trivia games. I mastered how to pantomime walking into a wall. Of course I worked on looking-busy-when-you’ve-completed-your-tasks-there-are-no-customers-AND-two-more-hours-until-you-can-go-home. I think the most important skill I learned, was how to sleep whenever I could.

One weekend my dad was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper and nursing a cup of coffee as I dragged myself through the door. I was exhausted.
“Hi stranger.” My dad greeted me “I was starting to wonder if you still lived around here.”
I smiled weakly, and dropped into a chair with the grace of a drunk elephant.
“I smell like rancid bacon.” I replied “I’ve been seriously considering moving into the storage closet at work. You can start forwarding my mail.”
My dad chuckled softly. “I need to go run a few errands. Why don’t you come with me? We’ll have some Daddy-daughter time.”
I hesitated briefly torn between a deep desire to crawl into bed, and wanting to see my dad for longer than thirty seconds.
“Can I sleep in the cart?” I asked.

When we arrived at the first stop, I lost no time in pulling a throw pillow in the bottom of the shopping cart my dad was pushing. I somehow managed to climb in the basket of the cart without breaking my neck. I curled up into an oblong shape, trying to contort by body around the sharp edges of the cart. Shopping cart baskets, were not made with sleeping teenagers in mind. I managed to find a comfortable position and blissfully fell asleep, with my dad pushing me around the store. Thank goodness he wasn’t buying bricks.

Imagine my surprise, a mere five years later, when I realized how difficult it is for me to sleep when Sweet Husband is away. It doesn’t matter if it’s one night, or a year’s worth of nights, sleep eludes me during the reasonable hours. No matter how tired I am, the moment I go to bed, I find myself wide awake. I’ll lay in bed for hours waiting to fall sleep. Go to sleep I tell myself sternly You’re going to regret staying awake so late. The sun comes up way to early. I know I’m right. I just can’t reason with myself. I’ll begin to pray. I’ll for Sweet Husband and the people with him. I pray for the boys, and for wisdom for me, so I don’t screw up raising them. I’ll pray for our families, and start praying for friends going through life changes. Sometimes I even pray for the people who make me want to scream. And when I come to the end of my list, and find myself still awake, I begin to wonder in which box I packed my ability to sleep.

Deployment, please end soon. The bags under my eyes are turning into a full size set of luggage.

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