I’ve been sleeping quite a bit lately, which is unusual for me. (Sickness will do that to you.) I have been a chronic over-scheduler since Jr. High. I was that girl – the girl who joined everything. I was part of drill team, band, Spanish Club (I don’t speak Spanish), Political Action Club (I was a Young Republican), student council, you name it, I joined it. I also had the need to prove I was a clever girl, so I took the hardest classes available, as early as possible.

December 1983

It is somewhere in my DNA to keep going until I absolutely collapse from exhaustion. Even as a child, I would fight sleep terribly, for fear I would miss something. I can remember getting up at 5am on game days, after going to bed at midnight, to shave my legs so I could wear my drill team uniform and letting the hot rollers cool in my hair while I finished my Algebra homework… in 8th grade. And so began my two-decade pattern of sacrificing sleep for my pursuit of perfection. Or at least for what I thought looked like perfection to other people.

I can’t say this quest has been all bad. My obsessive drive got me into and through graduate school, helped me be reasonably successful in my career, pushed me into volunteer service and even led me to do my part to keep coffee growers in business. Every successful woman I know gave up sleep some time before she gave up real sugar. It’s all caffeinated Splenda in a to-go cup these days. I mean, who even has time to sit down for breakfast (unless you’re in the car)?

Here’s the paradox: I really like sleep. For years, I have contended the hardest thing I do all day is wake up. Baby Daddy usually interjects to say the hardest thing he does all day is wake me up. Sleep is my friend and my enemy. If I were Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie, sleep would be my frienemy. I desperately need it but regularly avoid it. I don’t talk bad about it to the tabloids, though; I’m not that kind of girl.

Oh No! He's been shot!

Now I laugh at Monkey Boy for his fight with sleep. He is a brave soldier. Eventually, sleep gets its aim right and shoots the poor kid. I tell him no one will think less of him if he surrenders, but I would never allow that of myself, so I understand his battle.

If this illnes has taught me anything so far, it’s I have to figure out how lay down my weapons in this war on sleep so that he can see a good role model. Because more than sleep, we all need rest.



Filed under The view from here

4 responses to “Rest

  1. beeps

    those boots are hooootttttt….

  2. You crack me up! Sleep got its aim right and shot the poor kid. HA! where do you come up with these lines?

  3. I am a sleeper. Could sleep for 24 hours straight if I could find the time.

  4. charlotte noernberg

    I don’t know if you remember me…I worked with your Mom years ago in my previous life. I briefly watched you grow up, only saw glimpses of you when you came by the office to see your Mom after school, but, I remember your energy! I want to assure you it will return! Here’s my story and if I’m lyin, I’m dyin! My name is Charlotte, I am a victim of mono! I was 29 and had 3 sons, ages 7,5,& 2. I really thought I was down for the count. It was the first day of their summer vacation, I went back to the doctor, (I had been sick for about 2 months and he thought I just had allergies and a stubborn sinus inf.) I had woke up with a raging fever after taking a nap with the youngest, Matthew. So, I drove myself to this Dr. at a walk in clinic and they did the blood work (again) and the Dr. comes back in and says, Mrs. Noernberg, you have mono. Go home and get some rest! And, then he mentions not to play any contact sports(such as football) because this mught cause my spleen to rupture. Then he goes on to say that if I am in a serious car accident, that I should be sure and tell someone that I have mono so they will be ready when my spleen ruptures due to the trauma. Ha! I have never played football in my life and wasn’t about to start…and so, I drove home very slowly and carefully so as to not become involved in a car accident and after that I don’t think I left my house or even my bed for about 3 weeks. Remember I said that if I’m lyin, I’m dyin… well at that moment I thought I was dyin, so I tried to pray and think of how I was going to manage to survive the next 3 months of summer vacation and not try to either kill myself or my children.I know that sounds a little desperate, but I was depressed and tired and sick, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, all of the ***** time! We had just moved to Little Rock one year before this all happened and bought a home and I was still knee deep in boxes and I didn’t have any family or really close friends to rescue me. Next, I think I had myself a good cry/pity party. At least, I did have Dennis, my husband of 38 years now.(how we have managed to survive all of these years is only due to prayer and God’s sweet grace, but that is another story!) but, back then all I could think about is that I was really screwed! I was definitely up a creek with out a paddle and I knew was sinking fast! Well, (before I forget where I’m going with this) I guess I better just say what you already know. Sleep can be your friend, but, I admit I’m still not a big fan of it. There’s just too much that I’m afraid I’m gonna miss out on. So I guess the next plan of action is to simply be gentle with yourself, give yourself permission to be a slug, and though I did not want to succumb to mono or any disease ( I’m now a 13 year breast cancer survivor!) Yea!!! I guess I somehow learned that it was definitely okay to lay around all day and do nothing, (eating bon bons would have been nice) but, that was a really hard lesson to learn and a hard way to learn it, and I only did learn it because of necessity. My energy was zapped, gone, kapooie! I was so sick that I thought I must already be half dead, at the very least! And, I was extremely frustrated! It seems that when we have all of this energy and determination and actually thrive on doing all the stuff that simply must be done, that I never did understand what to do with myself when I wasn’t doing something and everything all at once. Multi- tasking was who I was,it gave me energy to always be “doing” and then suddenly I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom by myself much less take care of my little boys and husband! Okay, so now that I’m older and sometimes a little wiser and those sons are 35,33,& 29, I guess I look back and see how utterly foolish I was.I’ve always been a worrier and never wanted to admit it. I worried and fretted about anything and everything. And,I was obsessive/compulsive (still am)and I made lists and then I made lists of my lists. I’ve even saved some of my lists and they serve as reminders of my sccomplishments or my failures, depending on what mood I’m in. Well,I suppose I finally came to realize this: It was only one summer! And, haven’t we always heard about those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer? It was definitely a “crazy” summer, too bad I couldn’t just relax a little and enjoy my mandatory siestas! Oh, the woulda, the coulda and the shoulda! Kerri,the bottom line is this: Be gentle with yourself, Be kind to others, and yes, you have to rest! And I’ll be praying for you to very soon be well.