“Thank God for sleep! And when you cannot sleep, still thank Him that you live to lie awake.” John Oxenham (whoever that is?)
Yes, I opened my positive quotations book and this time, I actually opened and read the first quote my eyes fell upon. As luck or fate would have it, I have been thinking about sleep – “sleeping in” to be exact. Since I’ve retired, I am sleeping beyond 4:30am (which is when I used to get up for work) but I cannot sleep past 6am. This morning, it was 5:30. I can’t really feel deprived because I actually get around 7 hours of sleep. Perfectly adequate for a woman my age…
When the kids were younger, I used my early morning hours to write letters and eventually emails. My children were early risers as well – so I often had to sneak out to the table or my office – so that I didn’t wake them. I relished those limited moments of peace and quiet. Now, the early rising and writing are a habit. My mind fires up the moment I am awake – my creativity and the need to put thoughts to paper are at their peak immediately after I pee. (TMI?)
I’ve recently realized that I am emulating my mother. I remember getting up in the morning and finding her at the kitchen table, smoking and writing letters to her family in Texas. To my recollection, she wrote every day. In many ways, they were her lifeline. Instead of writing in a journal, she wrote to her sister, Dorothy. Dorothy responded in kind. And it wasn’t like texting or facebook – each letter was 3-4 pages long, handwritten.
When I went to college, I was very lonely. I’ll bet I wrote, on average, 3 letters a day. In those days (1970’s), we couldn’t afford to call long distance and there was no email (or computers) so we wrote letters. I would also receive at least one a day. In fact, my mom wrote every day, even if it was just a post card. I hadn’t remembered that until just this moment. Usually, she would write some snippet of advice or tell me some news from home. I wish I had saved some of them – maybe I would feel a little closer to her. I don’t think so – I think some of the letters were what drove us apart. Age old feelings, once buried, now surface.
I think she cherished her quiet moments alone in the morning too. The older I get, the more I understand about her. And the more I wish things could have been different for us. I will always be sad about that – not having the chance to make amends. She has dementia and remembers very little of her past. I do know that she did the best she could do – she loved her children as much as she knew how. That has to be enough.
What, you may ask, does all of this have to do with sleep? Perhaps I put you to sleep with all of my rhetoric.