Come on, you do too
Lavender-scented linen sheets, dim lighting, a great novel on the side table… and just me, getting a solid 8 hours of sleep.
I adore my hubby. He really is the best part of me — seriously. We’re on vacation in a tropical paradise as I write, staying in a luxury villa owned by some very generous friends of ours. Tony has insisted on making every meal (when we aren‘t eating out) while we’re here. I keep offering but he keeps cooking. He’s a giver, a thoughtful put-you-before-me kinda guy. And he makes a mean Hollandaise sauce.
For that and for so many other reasons, of course I’m happy to share a bed with him, like, in every way. This is the 25+1 anniversary celebration trip we weren’t able to enjoy last year because of Covid. We’ve been through thick and thin (literally and figuratively), we’ve managed to grow three pretty fabulous children into adulthood, we’ve started a couple of businesses together. We’ve laughed, cried, struggled, dreamed and snuggled. We’re solidly together til the end. I’d just like my own bedroom.
Why? Because he needs to have a cup of tea.
Three or more nights a week.
I have no recollection what kind of a sleeper I was before having kids but since I have no recollection, it was probably nothing out of the norm. After pregnancies and having little ones, like a lot of mamas, I wake up very easily. My husband could take a two hour nap in the middle of the day with kids running up and down stairs, doors being opened and closed and no one talking in hushed voices. No way, not me. That’s fine though, I don’t often feel like I want a mid-day nap. What I want to do is to sleep at night. At night. At night when we should be sleeping. When all is still. When our bodies are expecting to do all the amazing restorative things they’re designed to do with the seven or eight hours of sleep they’re supposed to be getting.
Tony’s an early-to-rise, early-to-bed guy, especially during our cold, dark Ontario winters. I’m often in bed by 10, when he’s already had about an hour of sleep. He’s out within minutes of touch-down on his memory foam pillow. But three or four nights out of seven he wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea. He loves the solitude found in those early hours. He usually just sits quietly in the dark, sips his tea and then, after about an hour he’s ready to go back to sleepy-land.
Me? I lay down next to him and go over the day’s events and tomorrow’s events and this and that and the other thing. I’m not a worrier, I just can’t fall asleep right away. In the processing, my body puts itself to bed and falls asleep. A couple of hours later I might wake up to my 22 year-old singing in the bathroom while brushing her teeth or to my elephant-footed 18 year-old running down the stairs to save the frozen pizza he’d forgotten he’d put in the oven at midnight. Midnight. Moms of adult kids who live at home, you get it. Then I take a bit more time to fall asleep again but eventually it happens.
And then it’s tea time.
Tony will have had a solid sleep from say 9:00pm — 3:00am. A good six hours or so. Straight. Out of bed for a cup of tea and a little meditation in the wee hours, then he heads back to sleepyland for another couple of hours. It may not be eight hours straight but my man is getting at least eight hours in on most nights.
I wake up at tea time too. Like fully awake. Immediately upon opening my eyes I could have an instant, comprehensive conversation with him about our finances or what clients I need to get in touch with the next day or how much it bugs me that the kids haven’t been cleaning the cat litter.
He gets up for tea time. The bed shifts, the box spring whines, the door opens then closes, the floor boards creak. Water rushes from tap to kettle, the gas burner click click clicks before it’s lit (small house, the kitchen isn’t too far from our room). And then it’s quiet. Lovely solitude. For him.
I’m back to going over whatever it is my brain wants to go over.
The whole time he’s out there.
I swear I don‘t fall back asleep.
Tea time is over. His head hits the pillow and straight back to sleep. Like straightback to sleep. For him.
I don‘t have to play it all out for you. You get the picture. It feels like just as his alarm goes off a couple of hours later, I’ve just slipped into REM.
When Tony tells me of an upcoming, occasional business trip my first thought is I get the bed to myself! No joke. I suppose if he was away a lot that wouldn’t be my first thought, maybe I’d be trying to go on some of his trips with him. But the thought of going to bed and keeping the light on to read a compelling memoir late into the night, sleeping til the sun comes up and feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep is so appealing, I’m booking his flights as soon as ‘Looks like I’ll have to travel to…’ comes out of his mouth.
Our house is small and our three adult kids still live at home. We have no guest room or I’d use it for the occasional sleep-through-the-night getaway. Or maybe I’d move in.
Lady-friends…who else feels like this? Is this a taboo subject? It doesn’t mean we love our partner any less. I just want to sleep all the way through the night. All the way. Through the night.
This villa we’re at in Central America has a few bedrooms. Beautiful, comfortable, quiet bedrooms each with its own bathroom. Three bedrooms and just the two of us.
I’ll have Tony proofread this article for me. After which I’ll likely hear about all the times I wake him up through the night. We’ll laugh about it. Then I’ll go have an eight hour sleep…in the other bedroom… after reading that memoir until late in the night.