There’s a reason why Prisoner of War camps use sleep deprivation as a torture device. Everybody from the United Nations to your mother knows that not getting sleep turns people into raving maniacs who will cry, rant and confess to anything. Sometimes when people talk about Guantanamo Bay, I can’t help but nod sagely.
“Two kids, less than a year apart,” I say solemnly, “The horror… the horror…”
Today my husband and I took naps. Long naps like bears burrowed deep in snowy caves in the dead of winter. Our bed right now is a petri dish of smells – the kids jump on it with feet black from being outside all day, two dogs battle for supremacy and mommy has those night sweats that so far have defied medical explanation. It didn’t matter. We could have slept on a dung pile, so exhausted were we from children and animals and show business, and in my case, a touch of mental illness.
After the sleep, we were re-born like a pink baby Jesus (when he was still a Jew.)
Then when hubby took the kids to see a movie and left me home alone with just ONE PUPPY, I was in some kind of altered state of ecstasy. I suddenly saw clearly everything that needed to get done; my book chapters, laundry, all kinds of “functional” type human activities. Am I the only one who absolutely cannot concentrate on anything when my kids are around? I turn into some kind of malfunctioning CIA drone, spinning in circles over the same targets, not accomplishing anything worthwhile, but yelling a lot.
It seems incredible that only a month ago I was so irritated with my husband that I really thought I would be better off alone. But I know I married my soul mate, so unfortunately I have to assume that at least half of what goes in the marriage is my responsibility. You know how they say, “my better half,” well he is, which just reminds me that how I feel from one day to the next is not really a barometer of anything other than my hormonal cycle. And even the kids know that on Day 23, you don’t fuck with mommy.
Tonight we were invited to some friends’ house totally impromptu, and because we’d slept we were able to actually relax. After dinner we headed out into the darkness of their backyard; there were no lights out there, except a flashlight held by a four-year old and soon all the kids were going crazy on the huge trampoline and we were lying on a double recliner, looking up at the stars. That’s when we saw it. The biggest, brightest shooting star ever.
“Make a wish,” said our beautiful hostess.
“I already did!” I said, because I’m good at wishing.
“I’m still here,” my husband joked, as he always does when I make a wish, as if I was wishing for him to disappear. (Even at the worst times, I’m not. Myself to disappear, maybe.)
Turns out when we were seeing was the Perseid meteor shower, an astronomical phenomenon that happens once a year. It was incredible; a long fiery trail streaking unselfconsciously cross the night sky. And to think if there were lights in that backyard, or I had turned my head to obsess about what the kids were doing, or if my eyelids had lowered from exhaustion – I would have missed the whole thing…