The night has always fascinated me. For as long as I can remember, I have never been one to fall asleep early. Some of my most primitive memories are of the nighttime sky peering through a window, or watching trees shadows dance along my bedroom walls. Even as an adult, I find that I am most productive and in-tune with my senses later in the day.
So when I began my career as a nurse, working the night shift seemed like a perfect fit (besides, it was the only shift available). However, now that I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom without a clock to punch out, I’ve been forced to flip-flop my schedule in order to accommodate two high-maintenance in house patients- Dadisodes and Babisodes.
It’s been over 2 years since I last worked the graveyard shift, but in all this time it’s been a struggle adjusting to my new schedule. I had to wean myself of my regular midnight-2am lunchtime, and sleeping while the sun was out. All of these tiny nuances took months and months to overcome. And last week, I noticed the greatest progress yet. I began feeling tired around 10pm.
You have to remember that for years, by this time in the day, I had not even had lunch yet. This was a huge breakthrough. Or was it?
Several days later I woke with a nasty head cold (which I still have). Could my body have been trying to fight off something? Possibly. But I was sort of eating well, going to bed earlier. What went wrong?
On Friday night, I climbed into bed beside Dadisodes. My eyes squinted at the alarm clock across the room to see the time reading 10:37pm. “Yes!” I said to myself as I lay down on my side and pulled the soft, worn comforter over my body. Beside me, Dadisodes lay flat on his back already drifting off.
I leaned in closer to his body for warmth and placed my head right on the inside of his shoulder. In the gap perfectly suited for the side of my cheek. As I closed my eyes I whispered, “Good night, night. See you in the morning,” as I always do. I lay still for a few minutes with my eyes closed. Feeling his heartbeat beneath the palm of my hand. And then, I turned over onto my other side, curled up, and fell fast asleep facing the other way.
I can only cuddle for so long. I can never fall asleep that way.
Hours passed through the night as we both slept. While lying on my side I felt the urge to curl up more and bring my chin to my chest. My eyes still closed, I began to shiver. My right hand slowly drew up my left forearm to discover it freezing! I creaked my eyes open at the green alarm clock light reading 4:28am.
Directly in front of my face were both my knees and arms, curled up into a fetal position. None of the blankets were on me anymore. I sat up in shock in the cold, dark room and looked over the edge of the bed in search of covers. The floor was barren. As I turned to my side Dadisodes laid still, tightly bound inside all of the covers. His cocooned body all snuggled and warm, unyielding even an inch of fabric.
I nudged his shoulder with my finger.
Violently shook his shoulder with both hands.
His blanket force field was too strong. So I grabbed a sweater from my bedside table, put it on, and feel back to sleep.
Wash, rinse, and repeat for an entire week, and I find myself alone in the house with this nasty cold. I’ve heard it is common for older couples to sleep in separate beds. Could this be why? Would it be wrong to start in our 30’s? I tried starting the night with 2 separate blankets, but my covers still end up stolen.
Perhaps I need to stay up later in the night. Watch the shadows of trees dance on my bedroom walls. And then, slowly…pilfer all the covers to create my very own cocoon.