Bedtime Stories My Mind Tells Me
Last night I had trouble sleeping when we finally got to bed. I’d let myself take a mini-nap right before bedtime, meaning I passed out in front of the TV at 7pm. Then when I heard Mike negotiating with Ax about bedtime, I roused myself to help him with the process of brushing, flossing, story reading, and getting to bed. I could have stayed asleep, and probably slept through the night. I could have let Mike handle it all despite his illness and constant loud man coughing, but I wanted to be a good wife and mother, to help out the team, so I got up and participated, somewhat cheerfully even.
Before I got up was one of those weird mom moments, I was completely asleep in the bedroom, yet somehow still able to hear my child’s whining down the hall out in the living room, “It’s not time!”
And Mike: “Come on, Buddy, it is time.”
And Ax: “Noooo.”
Mike could have handled it. I could have kept sleeping. But I rallied. I came out and did the confused/slightly annoyed mom thing, which still works: “Guys, what’s going on? Why are the lights still on out here?”
Two deer in headlights faces turned to me. Mike: “Uh, we thought you were asleep.”
Ax: “Sorry, mom.”
Me: “Ok, well, come on then let’s get to brushing and flossing and reading and snuggling.”
Ax, sullen, but resigned: “Okayyy….”
Mike, consoling big man hand on Ax’s back: “Come on, Buddy.”
And we did the bedtime routine pretty efficiently and got to reading and then blessed lights out, whereupon I tossed and turned in the dark for a really long time.
Ax, in the dark: “What’s going on, Mom?”
Me: “Nothing, honey, I’m just having trouble sleeping, having a lot of thoughts. Does that ever happen to you?”
Ax: “No. I always go to sleep when my mind tells me to.”
Me: “How does that work?”
Ax: “I don’t know, it just does.”
So I got into a comfortable position and instead of letting the spinning in my brain continue I focused on not focusing, on that relaxed yet attentive state where the colors of darkness can get pretty vibrant and the sound of my own breathing becomes a bedtime song and I feel the heaviness of my body parts meeting the bed.
And eventually I slept again, to be disturbed regularly throughout the night by my own coughing, Mike’s coughing, and Ax’s arms, legs, and head piling on me at various times. It was a good night.
Today maybe there will be more snuggling, and maybe some napping. Tonight we’ll do it all over again, Godfrey willing. I am so lucky to be alive today, in this body, with this family, with this life, the way it is. I’m gonna keep going.