She hasn’t been getting much sleep recently. That’s largely due to the fact tat she’ pregnant, of course, and the physical and emotional anxieties that allay themselves to the early stages of pregnancy. (Pause. Why, thank you, thank you. Yes, I am very much happy.) But, of course, when the wife doesn’t sleep well, neither does the husband.
I often wonder what it will be like in the future. If long-married husbands and wives are so used to the rhythms of each other sleeping that they are more in-tune and therefore able to sleep through the irregularities or sleep less because of them. I doubt I could sleep less.
So, during the week, neither of us slept much. The nights are longer here in Chicago, of course, than the days. And yet there doesn’t seem to be much time in either. The constant tick-tick of the alarm clocks is perplexing to the sleep-deprived. Those of us who are familiar with this world live in constant fear that the world will, indeed, pass us by. We also wonder how the rest of the world lives on and enjoys their rest while we – alas – suffer the curse of the undead.
Thanksgiving Day was difficult for us. The whole tryptophan thing was beyond difficult for us, already struggling in the area of lack of sleep. If we knew – mentally – we had to sleep, our bodies took some convincing. The turkey juice not only convinced our entire bodies, it kept us paralyzed in a state of perpetual lack-of-stretchiness. This is a great thing if we were at home and could practice our own good manners however we so danged pleased.
If only ‘if’ were ‘because’.
There’s a few things I do know. When the Bears lose, I don’t sleep well. When I’m suffered by my students, bosses or peers, I don’t sleep well. When I worry about not sleeping well, I don’t sleep well. When my wife’s need to cuddle me exceeds my breathing capacity, I don’t sleep well. When I worry that I’ve offended my wife and she may want to sleep somewhere else, I don’t sleep well. On the occasional nights where she has slept elsewhere, or in the same bed, but separated by the width of a cold shoulder, I don’t sleep well.
But as someone who jealously guards his sleep (and dreads going back to school for that very reason), I wonder how I’ll feel when the newest member of our family invades that sacred ground. I have some friends who have two little girls that they are raising under the philosophy that the children should follow the parents’ schedule rather than the popularized other way around. My wife and I, of course, like this philosophy and – although I’ve not confirmed this with her – both agree that the alternative is a hollow philosophy, a type of sophism run amok among mothers, fathers and Dr. Spock alike.
With the exception of the weekends, night time is the only time to actually see the love of my life, much less speak to her. Often, in embracing and trying to forget our harshly-lighted days, we fall asleep on one of our couches. After a short reading from the Bible, we clock out at about nine o’clock. At six we slowly rise and head-on to our morning routines, neither wanting to free ourselves from the inertia of the warm bed into the cold, uninviting world of the bathroom and, ever more reluctantly, into the cold world of the Near North and Downtown areas of the Town of Chi. It’s in this world that I run successively slower and slower to meet my co-worker who has, out of the generosity of her heart and a faint promise of five dollars a week (both growing fainter by the moment) .
I also wonder how much of our talk, and how early in his or her developmental stages, affects the baby jasdye. We know that worry, bad health, positive energy, nutrition, etc., affect the pre-born. But to what degree does interacting with the child before birth impact the child? Or are the mental benefits largely given to the parents? Is it largely just me who would benefit from talking into an imaginary tube in my wife’s belly button to the same imagined baby bounding for joy?
Which reminds me of the biblical scene (shortly before the Magnificat) where the baby inside Elizabeth (John the Baptist) leapt for joy upon hearing Mary’s voice. I wonder how many sleepless nights Mary, heretofore known as The Virgin, must have had upon waiting for the arrival of that miraculous child. She had to worry about her reputation. Her fiancé, Joseph, in fact, worried about his and her reputation. He only kept the woman and baby under strict orders from a shiny man. Mary was known to “ponder… in her heart.” I wonder how often she tossed and turned – or lay silent and still – in bed, concerned about the activities of her saintly, prophetic, but rebellious son. I wonder if she slept the night after they laid him in the tomb; or the night before she rose early to give him his proper burial. I wonder how much sleep she got after realizing that her son was the “firstborn from among the dead,” as one of her son’s later followers would put it.
Something tells me she got quite a bit.