Saturday, May 14, 2011

Did Sinatra lie awake too?

When the sun is high In the afternoon sky You can always find something to do But from dusk til dawn As the clock ticks on Something happens to you In the wee small hours of the morning While the whole wide world is fast asleep You lie awake and think about.......
It's 2:18 am. I'm awake. Women my age are cursed with this problem. We wake up and all the details of our day and the details of what we need to do the next day swirl around in our brains until we eventually fall back to sleep. Some nights are worse than others. Nights like this. Nights where I give in. Nights when no amount of counting sheep or "relaxing my body from head to toe," one body part at a time will lull me back to the land of nod. So I turn on the light. Sometimes I read, sometimes I get up and go to the kitchen and eat a bowl of cereal as it is sometimes hunger pangs that have awakened me. Tonight the sound of car tires on the wet roads, their whooshing monotony repeating again and again do not comfort, they annoy me. So here I am, alone at my desk, one small light glowing, the silence of the night surrounding me, the distant whooshing, less annoying now that I am not trying to fall back to sleep. I sometimes wonder if city living is what contributes to my nocturnal disruptions. The constant white noise of traffic, the odd siren, the occasional group of inebriated revelers passing by with their boisterous voices - is that what wakes me? I dream of sleeping somewhere night after night where it is completely quiet. Oddly enough, when I sometimes do, the silence seems strange and it can make falling and staying asleep just as difficult. I recall once staying at a friend's farm, the crickets early on in the night, followed by the low moan of distant cows, not all that peaceful really. There is one sound I like, the sound of rain falling on a roof, or skylight. That can act as a sedative. Maybe I am at a point where I need to look into sedatives, but I have such an aversion to any kind of drug or unnatural method, that gets ruled out. I wonder if we are waking for a reason? It can produce some of my more creative solutions; this time in the night when the world is at rest. There is a peacefulness about it that can be lovely really. Uninterrupted time. No ringing phones, no voices, no voice in my own head reminding me of things I should be doing. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure almost. Time that is all mine. Time I don't have to share with anyone. My mother says she suffers from this more and more as she ages. I think she lies awake reviewing her life now, wondering about the path she took and what she might have done differently. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe she just thinks about grocery lists and the changes she will make in her garden the next day, but something tells me her thoughts go deeper than that. Maybe she lies there next to my father, listening to him breath like she has for 53 years and wonders how she has managed to last the better part of her life with one man. Is there a comfort to that, or does she say - "what the hell was I thinking?" Hard to say. Does she ever wonder what might have been? Does she ever think about her destiny in this lifetime and whether or not it has been fulfilled? That is something I think about lately. All the time in fact. The fulfillment of my own destiny. I used to be content with motherhood. That seemed like a decent "destiny defining" role. But something happens when they grow up. What gave you a sense of purpose for many years, no longer needs you or feeds you in the same way. It's something all mothers face eventually I am sure. Some never stop, never really let go, but that's not me. I would be one of those mother birds that nudges her little ones out of the nest a bit early, forcing them to flap and fly, or fall. Maybe because I was an early out of the nest bird myself - that seems natural to me. No point trying to stay in the nest when there is a whole wide world out there to discover. I don't get these kids that stay home into their 30's these days. It's beyond me. Maybe our destiny is broken up into phases and I am in between phases, so this middle of the night waking is more of a "wake-up call". A time of clear-headed thinking that is necessary to soldier on to the next phase. In our busy lives, it is almost impossible to carve out the time during the day for this kind of thinking. It would be good now though if I could just move on to this next phase with a little more sleep being banked each night. I sense it is coming soon. I hope.

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