Day 47: Count Sheep….
I can remember occasionally trying to count sheep when I was a kid. For a short period of time when I was maybe ten years old I used to worry a lot about what it meant if we were really in a war with Libya. So I started listening to my pink clock radio as I fell asleep. But the trouble with listening to the radio while I fell asleep was two-fold. The “sleep” function on either a radio or a television has the reverse effect on me. I take it as a dare to try to stay awake until it goes off. And then I started imagining that inside my radio was an entire universe. That universe generated sounds and thoughts and “radio waves.” I had a poster in my room when I was really little that had the alphabet on it. So, I memorized the alphabet backwards. That didn’t help me sleep, either. So, I’d just let my mind wander and I’d imagine what it would be like to be married to Tom Selleck. (Shut up, it was 1983.) Somewhere amidst all of these “fall asleep” techniques I am sure I counted sheep. But it didn’t leave much of an impression. So last night when I decided to give it a shot I felt like it was the very first time.
MQD and I both read before going to sleep last night. It’s one of my favorite times of the day. When we are both in bed, reading our own books, barely touching, but aware of the sound of the other’s pages turning, the smile that crosses my face when I hear him chuckle at something he’s read, the wondering if he can see the tear roll my down my face (confession: I am a recently converted voracious reader of terrible chick lit, this will pass, so help me) all of these things add up to make this one of my very favorite moments. I suspect this is in no small part due to the fact that it “feels” like something good. Like the way a perfect marriage should feel. Like something I’d have imagined doing with Tom Selleck. (See, how I said that before you could?)
There’s something about those moments that feel just like what you imagined it would be like that is so satisfying. I have been dwelling a bit on the “what is “it” supposed to feel/look like? The “it” being our marriage. I am confident in our ability to communicate. And I earnestly believe if you’ve got that you’re most of the way there. I am confident that when I make some smart ass remark at the television and MQD looks at me and says “I love you” he really does. And that kind of love is the kind that carries you through, the kind that really means you like that person more than you like anyone else, that they are your favorite. So I am not even really sure why I am so anxious lately. But I am trying not to dig too deep and just let myself feel it. After all, nothing reminds you that even the most well laid plans can go awry like calling your ex-husband so your daughter can say goodnight, a task I complete five nights out of seven. So it is no wonder I have a little bit of worry that I am making the right decisions. I think a certain amount of worry is to be expected. And yet all in all I feel more sure of this being “right” than anything. I am not afraid to admit it out loud that I really, really want him, us, our marriage. I don’t often admit to myself or to anyone that I want anything. Because if you don’t have goals you don’t fail.
So, I needed last night. One of those nights where you turn off your light and you think, ahhh…. this is it. I’ve got this. With little nagging at the corners of my mind I said “Good night” tucked my Snoopy under my chin (Tom Selleck was a phase, Snoopy was not) and started counting. I really tried to picture each one, real sheep, not cartoon sheep, jumping over a fence. I got to about twenty and remembered I’d not set my alarm clock. Began again. Somewhere around seventeen my mind started wandering and I realized I could feel my pulse in my lower back and I was actually counting my heart beats. I rolled over and started again. Put my hand on MQD’s chest. He was already asleep. His ability to fall asleep in a moment is a trait I both admire and abhor. Nothing like tossing and turning while your bed mate soundly slumbers to make you feel like a bratty child, desperate to wake up everyone else in the house, too, dammit. I let the sheep jump in rhythm with MQD’s breath and I counted. I don’t recall getting to thirty.
I woke to the sounds of thunder and rain around four this morning. I could see the lightning through the bedroom curtains and I counted the moments between lightning and thunder-clap as I decided whether I’d try to get back to sleep or not. I was still awake when MQD got up at five. And still awake when my little lady hopped in bed around 5:30. And still awake when I felt her chest begin to rise and fall more slowly as she fell back to sleep. And still awake when MQD left for work so very early this morning.
But I was rested. I’d counted sheep. And calculated the thunderstorm’s distance. And just now I counted the days. 198. A hundred and ninety-eight days until we make a wonderful decision. Until we have a party to celebrate a decision we made long ago…
It’s still raining. Office door open. Ella Fitzgerald on the radio. I love today.