Sleepless in Sunshine

First- I apologize for the austerity of my blogging. My I pad will not load images, and so I will show you my world on another day. Today I will take you to Janet’s Planet with mere words.

I have not slept well in Florida. Can it be that I require the snuffling and wheezing of Mabel and Milly to sedate me? God, I hope not. Steve provides a soundtrack at times, but tonight I needed to vacate bed and inhabit the Corner of the sectional. Here I can prop myself up, reading until my mind shuts off. Usually, my brain goes into Park pretty fast.

Dreamland was elusive last night. I just stayed up. It was nice.

This habit was formed years ago. Our house was crowded, and I loved to claim a space as my own. This was only possible when the other seven were in bed. I stayed up until all hours, watching movies or reading in the den. I slept in my clothes, draped with Mom’s blue afghan. I clanged to reality when Mom filled the tea kettle, usually around 6:30 in the morning. She would try to get me to go upstairs by giving me the “Jan, you cannot get a good night’s sleep” on the couch scold. I would just bury my nose in the cushion and grab another hour.

I am a good sleeper. I am second born; my Mom mastered the art of letting me cry myself to sleep. Therefore, I have an excellent sleep muscle. I can snooze in noise or silence, neon light or obscurity. My sister Jennifer, first born and probably quartered in a dark nursery and picked up at a whimper, needed silence and darkness. Our bedroom sharing was a study in conflict resolution: our most violent quarrels involved who would pull down the light darkening shades, when the lights would go out, and the need for silence. In time, she wore a bonnet hairdryer to bed obscuring all noise, though occasionally burning her face in a coiled pattern. I read with a flashlight under the covers. If only booklights had been invented! I would never have been a snotty little bitch to Jen. We evolved to fight about who had more inches of closet bar, (Jennifer) and who was messier (me, no contest). She is still a wretched sleeper, and I am Rip Van Winkle.

Steve is a fitful sleeper, too. He cannot settle without me beside him. I view this as a sweet connection, but it is also a burden, since his late night routine involves sports recaps and TMZ. I do not have room in my brain for such clutter, and so off I go. To sleep, perchance to dream. Most likely, to snore. Or snuffle…that sounds more feminine.

My routine shifts when Steve is in Florida and I am home. I take a bath, shuffle downstairs, and return to my night owl persona. Six states away, Steve calls and encourages me to go to bed, call him, and say goodnight- a virtual “tuck in”. It comforts him to go to bed together. But those late night hours are a winter gift to me. He manages this abandonment with an Ambien. I admit I feel guilty when the morning reveals an insomniac text circa 4 am, wondering if I am awake. Once I am asleep, I am done. Steve has never known 8 hours of uninterrupted sleeping bliss.

Tonight my rare episode of Sleepless in Pompano allowed me to finish my book- The Art of Fielding (wondrous, to be discussed later) – and watch the sun paint the sky rose then golden. Steve sauntered by the sofa, grabbed a treat and a water, admonished me to come to bed, and drifted back to the bedroom. I feel my youth and my present all tied together by hardwiring, love and history. Jennifer is in town, sleeping poorly in Dad’s condo 3 floors below. I know the rising sun will awaken her. If I had a teakettle, I would fill it up. And we would tea-toast the gifts of every late night and early morning.

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