When night swoops down on this house we are not ready. It’s never unexpected, nor is it unwelcome… we just aren’t ready.
In my home we each have our own way of delaying night’s embrace. Our own ways of saying No, I won’t. No, I can’t. Really, I couldn’t possibly.
The method doesn’t really matter though, what matters is that this is when we all do our best thinking. When the day has been long and hard and we haven’t enough energy left to hold back the flood of thoughts and dreams we just wander aimlessly, be it in mind or body.
It’s easiest for me. My schedule is often flexible, changing, based on the lives of those around me. For my husband who must rise early each day to make the long commute to work and my daughter who is only 6 and needs sleep to thrive and grow, these late nights seem to be a problem.
I see heavy eyes and sluggish feet each day and every night I tell them both that they need to go to bed early…
So I tuck K into her bed, read her a story and kiss her goodnight, but try as I may I can not make her go to sleep. She lingers in the waking world clinging to one last thought as long as she can. Sometimes moments longer than I’d like, sometimes hours.
When she’s finally fallen asleep I tell my husband that it’s time for him to go to bed, and even as I say it each night I know what his response will be. Always and again he will tell me yes, he needs rest, he will sleep soon… though without fail his tired eyes are still awake and 11, 12, sometimes 1 or even 2.
Then there’s me. I would sleep so much more than I do… but I’m troubled by wakeful, thoughtful wanderings, theirs and my own. I feel the need to help, to guide, to remind… to make my family understand that sleep is a beautiful thing when night comes.
Something they shouldn’t run from. Shouldn’t resist. Something they should revel in and enjoy… even as I stand wide awake telling them so.