|Not my photo of my imaginary friends|
Fast forward twenty-or-so years to the adult-ish version of me. This older, more sophisticated me that will soon be the mother of two has unknowingly started another imaginary (and very tempestuous) relationship-- with Sleep.
Sleep is the friend every parent wants to have. We all need Sleep to be our friend. Sleep brings peace and peace of mind. Sleep prepares us to face our day and our children and our lives. But many of us know that Sleep is really an evil, conniving b*&#^. Only one in every two parents really get to know Sleep well, and this is often a source of frustration and jealousy. At my house, Sleep is essentially "the other woman." When my Princess (whose friendship with Sleep also sucks) wakes me up for the umpteenth time during the night, Sleep quickly leaves me-- pushing me from my bed-- and cuddles up closer to my husband. He gets to rest for the upcoming day while I wrestle with Princess's bedtime demons. Why can't I cuddle up with Sleep once in awhile?! Maybe the thought of Sleep wouldn't stir such dread and mixed emotions for me if we had a better relationship. I've been trying since I was pregnant (eight years ago) to get into Sleep's good graces, but it seems it will never be.
When I get the inevitable call from Princess in the middle of the night, I resist the urge to rip two-timing Sleep off my husband, and instead go do my motherly duty. My heart gets to thumping while I am assisting my darling girl with whatever has awakened her. However, when I return to my room to find my husband all wrapped up in peaceful Sleep-- like nothing has just happened-- I really get annoyed. I lie in bed and wonder why Sleep has picked him over me. I'm nice. I'm not cool but I'm socially acceptable most of the time. I work hard. Why has Sleep refused to be my friend?! I need Sleep to accept my friend request-- PRONTO!!! The more I think about it, the harder it is to convince "the Evil One" to visit me again. It's like I have forfeited my turn with Sleep because I dared to wake for a moment-- Son of a... AHHHH!
My experience tells me that Sleep is the ultimate mean girl. Sleep shows me just enough attention to keep me wanting more, but not enough to keep me from feeling frustrated. Sleep taunts me with promises of energy and patience and rest and then never delivers. I get just enough Sleep to make it through the day-- barely. Sleep also knows that I can't give up hope that we will become better friends. That hope is the only reason I even bother to go to bed. I toss and turn, hoping for some quality time with Sleep. Instead, Sleep choses my husband's company over mine time and time again and I am left disappointed and unsatisfied. I really need to work harder at choosing my imaginary friends.