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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maybe If I Just Close My Eyes for a Little Bit

You may not know this to look at me, but at one point I was capable of sleeping well into the early afternoon.

O, how I miss those days.  The bed was a warm, comforting place, a place from which I easily dreamt elaborately scripted scenes of world-wide adoration.  Freshly minted coins bearing my likeness dropped from hot air balloons; sumptuous desserts were stacked one upon another, teetering precariously over banquet tables lined with well-wishers; banners were strung from lamp post to lamp post proclaiming the virtues of my excellent posture, my dainty foot, my ability to do the splits in one direction but not the other…

And then, as we say, I woke up.

When did I stop being able to sleep? 

It may be in my blood.

We’re not a family of sleepers.  Both of my parents, for example, give the early-morning impression of having been up for hours.  Look at them, with their pressed pants, their tiny little teefers glinting in the sunlight.  It’s 6:00 a.m. and they’ve hit the ground running.

These people are ready to take on the world.

It’s a heavy responsibility, being their child.

Sleeping in is considered a treat in my neck of the woods.  I came to know this the morning my grandfather leaned over my sleeping form at 5:30 a.m. and said, in a low, Midwestern kind of voice, “Sleepin’ in?  What is it, your birthday?”

Even at five, I could sense an obligation that would stay with me for the rest of my life. 

But now, the sleep I once welcomed and held with chubby, loving arms eludes me, shows up in the early afternoon to tease me, a handsome sandman of temptation whispering in my ear, “Why don’t you just lay down?  Go on, take a nap.”

You can ask my mother, however, about my stance on naps.  Naps, as I once explained to her, are for babies. 

Tired, overworked, sleepy babies.

What are the odds that someone will hand me a bottle (a nice ale, perhaps), take my shoes off, and make me lay down right after lunch?

“You don’t have to sleep,” they’ll say.  “You just have to be quiet for an hour.”

Oh, but I’ll complain:  I don’t wanna take a nap!  I wanna stay up!

And then I will drink my bottle, lay down and close my eyes and dream dreams of greatness.  And cakes.

Greatness and cakes.

43 comments:

Leenie said...

Don't you just hate waking with that dried drool and the qwerty keyboard imprint on your face.

Shelly said...

We are a family of little sleepers, too. My usual wakeup time on week mornings is 4 AM, without an alarm. I like to sleep in a bit on Saturdays till maybe 6 AM. My mom will often call me at 4:30 AM on Saturdays, usually to ask me a question about her computer or something she read on "the Google". She always says, "I waited a while to call you because I know you want to sleep in on Saturdays."

Kim Gibson said...

I feel your pain. Yesterday morning, I responded to a comment on my blog at 4:51! What's WRONG with me?!

R. Jacob said...

I like when my dreams start off with a nap!

Pearl said...

Leenie, :-) If they don't want to see me sleeping, they shouldn't come by my desk.

Shelly, very nice. 4:00 a.m. 6:30 being the "I've slept in" time. Yikes. I thought 5:30 during the week was bad -- not sure why, now that I look at it. Maybe I read it on the Google. :-)

Pearl said...

Kim, I weep for you. :-) I'm also passing a bottle to you for this afternoon's nap!

R., the space between awake and dreaming: my favorite vacation land...

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

It has taken me close to two full years of retirement to stop waking up at 4:45am.....and almost the same length of tme to stop falling asleep right after lunch.

vanilla said...

The nap is one of the greatly-to-be-treasured gifts from the Creator. Never spurn it.

Susan in the Boonies said...

You are going to hate me for this.

Because I "work" at home, I do slip in the occasional power nap. About 2:15 or 2:30, I occasionally lay me down to sleep for 15 or 20 minutes.

We have to get Acme to let you work out of your home.

I know we can figure out a way, if we just let you and Mary put your minds to it.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

Well, if you have to stay up, then don't forget your crayons and coloring books ;)
Ahh...greatness and cakes...I feel a drawing coming on.

ThreeOldKeys said...

When you're weary ...

there's a nap for that.

Symdaddy said...

I could easily imagine you staying in bed until mid- or late afternoon.

I never crossed my mind that you would actually be sleeping!

laughingmom said...

I think it has a lot to do with age, unfortunately. I never get enough sleep and long for more, yet the only time I might ever sleep during the day is if I am really ill. Maybe if I fake sick, my body will believe me and I can catch a nap!

NellieVaughn said...

Usually, I can't sleep more than five hours, but every once in a great while, I will sleep for fifteen hours. No need for applause.

Pearl said...

Delores, would you believe I like the sound of that?!

vanilla, I was young and foolish -- oh, who am I kidding? I still fight taking a nap (albeit less and less...)

Susan, you're right. Now I hate you. :-) And am jealous. I'm going to call you at 2:30 and ask you if you're refrigerator is running. :-)

Elizabeth, I've seen your drawings and they're wonderful. You'll have to let me know if "greatness and cakes" makes it to paper. :-)

ThreeOldKeys, now THAT was clever!!

Symdaddy, you bad, bad man. :-)
Big grin over here...

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I've NEVER been a napper. Now I am having trouble doing "all-nighters" as in "Sleeping thru the night". When I am chatting up my buddies in Australia and they are awake to respond--that's full-on insomnia! Maybe I need a special, big, yummy, sleep-inducing bottle to take to bed with me. :)
Rosemary

Pearl said...

laughing mom, you sound like me. Maybe we should pretend to be ill and go lay on the couch. Well, not the same couch, because mine is not near big enough for that sort of thing -- not to mention the comments we'd get from Symdaddy up there. :-) Still, I'll take the big chair, you can have the couch, and we'll sleep until someone brings us, um, cake. :-)

Nellie! Holy cow, girl! I'll bet 15 hours feels like gold-plated heaven...

Pearl said...

Rosemary, oh, there's that, too. I'm awake from 3:00 to 4:00, then sleep again from 4:00 to 5:20. It's ridiculous and completely unprovoked...

Craver Vii said...

To sleep --(big yawn) perchance to dream. Not in the sense of Shakespeare's Hamlet, but literally. Unfortunately, that yawn was faked... I have some stupid insomnia/apnea thing going on. A nap would be SO nice! Don't fight it, People. "Heads down. Eyes closed. You don't have to go to sleep..."

Symdaddy said...

"... bad, bad man ..."?

That's good, right?

You should have seen what I wrote about your pants! Somehow my comment never made it into your comments!

fishducky said...

If there were an Olympic event in sleeping, I could have headed the US team! Now that I'm 77 & have no reason to wake up at any specific time, I'm awake at 7 or 8am. Life is not fair!!

Joshua said...

I'm a fan of naps...but I can't sleep when it's light out. Nor can I sleep in or go to bed early unless I'm sick. This means about 4-5 hours a night, if I'm lucky.

Sioux said...

Why don't you have a carpenter friend build a little shelf (for your alarm clock) and then you can take a nap under your desk at work? (It worked for George Constanza.)

esbboston said...

What?!?!? You want someone to hand you a bottle of ale and take off your shoes? Those are the ambitions of royalty.

Roshni said...

wow! I used to sleep till noon and now....5.30 a.m.! Yes, I sleep in too!!

jenny_o said...

At least in this one thing I am still like a teenager: sleeping long stretches with no effort. I'm not sure that's the one thing I would have chosen, but I had no say :)

Bodacious Boomer said...

I have bad news for you young one. As you age your ability to sleep soundly through the night diminishes. I'm lucky now if I can three hours in without waking. Our son on the other hand can sleep like the dead for 12 hours. Sometimes I'm so jealous of him it's kinda scary.

tattytiara said...

I still have no trouble sleeping past noon. The guilty feeling I wake up with, though - that's definitely new.

Eva Gallant said...

The joy of retirement: I can choose to sleep in, or take a nap later in the day!

SherilinR said...

my family is of the early-rising variety and they always found me to be sloth-ful and to be shunned when i slept past 9, even as a teenager. i believe they had high hopes for me to grow up and start rising early like a proper adult, but alas, i'm 36 and i can still sleep til noon and beyond if people stay out of my bedroom.

Tom G. said...

I can remember stopping for breakfast, and picking up the morning paper on my way home from the bar. The bars were open to 4 am in Buffalo, and when I moved to sleepy, Minnesota, and found out that they closed at 1 am, I thought "Hah! What kind of cow town is this?"

Within 3 years I was going to bed by 10pm. It's something in the water.

Jono said...

I am an early riser, but at don't stay at peak performance levels with out a refreshing afternoon nap. Preferably with a cat or two for professional nap coaching.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Silly Pearl. Naps aren't for babies! Naps are for 40-something women. ..such as me!
I am having the same dang problem lately, btw. Five hours sleep last night. Ambien, take me away.

Linda O'Connell said...

The couch and I have become well-acqauinted; it is where I do my best sleeping, as in 2 hour napping.

jabblog said...

I tend to be awake for much of the night when everyone else is asleep and snoring. Come the morning, I no longer have to be alert (for what, I ask myself??) and can sleep. My best sleep always came just as I had to get up to go to work . . . now I don't work, well, not for pay anyway.

Gigi said...

Ahhh, sleep.....that used to be my favorite hobby.

River said...

I'm an early waker-upper too, but I love my naps. There's nothing better than a rejuvenating 60 minutes on the couch before dinner.

the walking man said...

I thought creative napping was a new Major at Harvard?

TV's Take said...

I've never been a sleeper-inner. As a kid we would wake before any shows were on so our TV would be static and then the national anthem would come on. I do love thinking about those mornings as we ate our cereal in the dark waiting for the saturday cartoons.

Diane said...

To quote my daughter, "I'll sleep when I'm dead!" She's an over-achiever. Does it show? Oh, and for your nap, I have a special bottle of my homemade chokecherry wine. Fresh from my refrigerator. Guaranteed to create happy little dreams. And sad little headaches.

Silliyak said...

Re: cessation of Friday ipod predictions. I always looked forward to HOW you were going to introduce ANOTHER friday, but do what ya gotta do. Consider however the possibility of being infected with the Lebowski virus while you're considering what condition your condition is in.

injaynesworld said...

Greatness and cakes... God, I wish I had those kinds of dreams. Mine are always exhausting jumbles of madness. When I was in my 20s, I'd sleep till noon when I wasn't working. Of course, then I thought I had all the time in the world. Several, yes several, decades later, I realize time is at a premium and I'm up early to greet the day. That's what your grandpa was talking about.

Pat said...

I started napping with the kids after lunch and mostly the habit has lingered.
The fact is - with age - lie-in's just don't happen.