Thursday, October 10, 2013
At night, I lie in bed. I used to sleep in bed, but since my mother passed away, sleep no longer comes easily.
I remember so much about my life with my mother. Memories and scenes play over in my mind, she was always just there, and the last days we had with her, leave me feeling like we did so little with her. We could have done more, I mouth to myself, my face buried in the pillow. I had a list of all I wanted to do with her before the weather shifted. The note is still up near the kitchen desk, grandparent's day at the zoo, rent a beach wheelchair and let the kids push her along Lake Michigan, a spree to Goodwill.
Hours pass in the dark, I don't look at the clock because I don't want to see how few hours there are left before the kids come in to tell me it's time for school.
Sleep doesn't come at the snap of a finger, the way it used to. I would joke that I could win the Olympics of Sleep because I'd be stone cold knocked out halfway down before my head even hit the pillow. But not anymore.
Counting sheep doesn't work, I've tried. I adjust and re-adjust, and turn to the right and then try the left, I kick off the covers and stare at the dark ceiling. I close my eyes, and tell myself, just try and sleep. Just try.
Instead of sleep, my hearing just grows more acute. Sounds of the house settling, an owl in the tree in front of our neighbor's house, coyotes in the field near the back, a motorcycle going much too fast down the main road of our town. I hope he gets home safe, I mumble about the motorcycle rider, and that his mother isn't up waiting for him.
I turn onto my stomach, sometimes the cool sheets against my face help to bring sleep on. I think about how we are all home, all safe. How there is blissfully nothing for me to anguish or wring my hands over. I think about the good health we have and how there is always money for groceries. I smile thinking of how I am the mother of three children who make me laugh every day. I feel grateful for how I am able to be home when my kids need me to be and for how they're thrilled when it's spaghetti and meatball night, even though it's spaghetti and meatball night more days of the week than I care for.
I think of my sturdy car, so good in the winter, and I think of the weekend ahead, busy, driving a carful of children to activities they all love doing. My plans to work on the closets and check for things we've outgrown is going to feel productive and help me with the stifled, cluttered feeling I've had lately. My husband and I are going to have breakfast together early Sunday morning and leave the boys at home. Food always tastes better when someone else makes it.
I have no worries, I have my children within five feet of me, our house is warm and large enough, and this weekend, my middle son asked to see a movie with me and my oldest asked to go shopping, together. I have so much to think about, the thoughts of all of the good that I have all push to the front of the line, to be heard, seen, acknowledged. Yes, yes, I see you, all of you, I keep thinking, I have so much.
I hear a soft knock on the door, then a push, my middle boy peeks in, wearing one of his new flannel shirts, one we just picked up before school started. "Mom? Mom? You need to get up -- you're still snoring, and you're usually up by now..."
I had fallen asleep, not remembering when, but remembering how, with thoughts of all the good that I have in my life. So much good, that it did what no amount of sheep in the world could do.
It carried me away, to sweet, gentle sleep.