The first six or eight weeks after leaving Ocean Beauty, I slept hard, deeply, nightly. I went to bed when Chris did on work nights, slept soundly through his waking and getting ready, and woke up sometime after he was already sitting at his desk for the day. I think this was a way for me to make up for waking to an alarm at 5:30 almost every day for a year, and also for two years of feeling generally soul-weary and disoriented. Oh, and planning a wedding in seven months. Add that to the mix.
But these past few weeks, sleep has not come as easily. I stare at the ceiling in the dark after Chris' breathing becomes even and steady (he also twitches--that's how I know he is falling asleep) and then I pad into the living room and read until my eyes feel heavy enough to go try again. I have also had a tendency to indulge in a small midnight snack at this time, if my stomach is rumbling, which made me feel naughty for eating after I had brushed my teeth for the eve. However, I had a cleaning at the dentist yesterday and was cavity-free, so I feel less rebellious for eating a few grapes or those gluten-free brownies in the middle of the night. I do have to stop using that silky floss and use grown-up floss, which is a loss. I wake up when Chris is getting ready in the morning, and usually attempt some nice gesture, but it actually ends up being something silly like flinging a hand across the bed in his general direction. Then I cover my head with a pillow and try to drift back to sleep.
Sometimes I like my new late-night escapades. Very late nights bring the same sort of stillness that waking up at 5:30 did--you know most of the rest of the world is asleep, at least in your corner of the world, and the stillness feels like a gift. On Sunday, I finished the last batch of our wedding thank-you notes at 2 in the morning. And I like reading at night before bed, even when it means I have to get up and read on the couch. On the other hand, not being able to sleep after so many months of falling asleep so quickly makes me feel restless, or lazy. I have always had trouble falling asleep quickly, so the utter and total exhaustion my Ocean Beauty season brought with it--physically, emotionally, spiritually--at least was a gift in that it let me fall asleep quickly most nights. I remember how delirious I would get by 10:30 or 11 on Friday nights with friends, and how sleeping in on Saturdays was sweet relief. It is strange to remember that just a few months ago, I was in bed, drowsy-eyed, by 9:30 PM. I think about that sometimes when I look up from reading on the couch and the numbers say 12:30 AM. I'd be nearly done with my first REM cycle, I marvel.
This season has been quite undefined, but there are small rumblings that tell me I am moving a little closer to a shift, a change. I'm not there yet, and this season of staying home and healing is not over yet--but my restlessness and late nights are small clues that I am not quite the same as who I was at the end of April when I left work. My bones are weary, but maybe not quite as weary? Maybe? If anything, it reminds me how drastically things can change in a short amount of time--for all those months my rhythms were set to sleep by 9:30, and suddenly I am staying up until 1 in the morning, my old bedtime come and gone without much notice. So who knows what the next months of my future will bring? What new bedtimes await in my future? What new commitments and adventures will come?
I am praying for hope to swell in my chest, though it has been elusive.