Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to sleep.
It might be in my genes. My father has always been a notorious sleeper. Give him 5 minutes in a comfortable chair, regardless of the hour, and he will give you a nap.
I’m not so much the napping type as I am the sleep-for-10-hours-at-a-time type. I often tell Mr. Bailey, “You know what I’d like to do? Sleep for two weeks.”
In times of stress, I like to head to bed around 9:30 and sleep, preferably, until 8 or 9 a.m.
If you’re a sleeper like me, you know dreams sometimes play a role in the experience.
Since my mom died, my dreams have become rich, offbeat and resonant parts of my nighttime routine.
It seems every suggestion or fear is immediately processed into my subconscious and put into the dream queue.
I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the absence of constant conversations with my siblings, the important conferring, the unity of our family as we fought cancer collectively. I am in the midst of deciphering what our family will be like now that my mother, the spoke, the emotional home of our unit, is gone.
In my midnight dreams, my three brothers and I are in my grandmother’s old house, together, sharing memories, looking around the dining room, theFloridaroom, laughing, when suddenly we hear the new owners arriving home. We all run into the yard, dashing like mad from our nostalgic breaking and entry.
I’m running blindly, trying to keep track of my brothers, desperate. Where have they gone? I catch flashes of their clothes as I dash down a set of stairs somewhere. We need to stay together, I insist.
Awake, I have fretted about the coming holidays, with their ties to home and family, memories like glittering lights on a twinkle string. They seem to illuminate only sadness without my mom.
At night, my third eye takes me to a future peculiarly reversed. It’s a future in which my father died instead of my mom. There we are in the midst of the holidays without him, all of us gathered where we always do – in my parent’s kitchen, surrounded by friends, family, trying to make sense of the first holiday without him.
In our daylight conversations, Mr. Bailey suggests we do something completely different and take a trip toNew Yorkright before Christmas.
As I lay sleeping, I dream we are stepping out of the airport into aNew York Citydecorated to the hilt with festive lights, swaying in a brisk winter wind. I feel the straps from the luggage I carry (with two kids we always have lots of luggage) dig into my shoulder as we cross a busy street to our hotel. Then we’re walking through a warm hotel, a corridor decorated with trees and ornaments and people milling, all sorts of people, here, and not home, for the holidays. It feels strange, exciting.
When I wake, I tell Mr. Bailey about myNew York dream.
“You are so impressionable,” he says, his eyes twinkling.
The dreams sometimes detract from the restfulness of my sleep, and sometimes enhance it. I wake with a sinking feeling so often it’s become a part of my morning routine. I imagine actually sinking into my bed, being swallowed by it. It’s not unpleasant.
Eventually, when all of the fantasies of slumber have been dislodged by the slanting soft light of morning, I get up. I RSVP for tonight to my sheets, my pillow, my comforter, my dreams.