It is a cruel world we live in, when the time for sleep is never the time we want it to be. Ever.
There are, of course, exceptions, but speaking from my own personal experience, I’m not sure I’ve ever really been able to go to sleep exactly when I wanted. I can’t remember a single time (although I also can’t remember what I had for dinner last night) that I’ve had the pleasure of announcing, “I’m tired. I’m going to bed and no one or nothing is going to stop me.”
As tiny infants we know no better and haven’t yet adjusted to any sort of schedule. After living in darkness for all of our lives, we suddenly find ourselves with lights and sun and lovely people who are trying to train us to sleep at times when we really don’t want to, but aren’t sure why.
As toddlers and preschoolers, we start to slowly learn about all of the fun things we are missing when those big, lovely people make us go to bed. We may not understand anything like the TV shows that come on after 9:00 or the blissfulness of reading a book that doesn’t have pictures or rhyme, but we are certain that a mysterious wonder world exists when we are forced to sleep.
As young children, we flat out know what we are missing. We are missing the good snacks, the funny movies. We are missing secretive conversations about grown up things that we may not understand, but sound fascinating. Words like “mortgage” and “carbohydrate” bounce around in our heads like a foreign and alluring language.
Then we get a little older and even if we weren’t the slightest bit tired, someone barks out that there is school tomorrow and something about getting a full night of sleep being good for us or else we won’t grow or learn or ever be able to pass calculus, which is joke crueler than bedtime itself.
By the time we’re old enough for calculus, we find ourselves shifting into the adult version of bedtime, when we start to actually want to go bed but can’t because of calculus homework. Without notice, we dream wistfully about those early bedtimes as we learn to drink coffee with cream and sugar to stay up late to study, thinking that life will get better and soon we’ll get the sleep we need.
But life moves fast, and before you know it, you’re married while there may be a short bit of time when you actually have a choice on when to sleep, soon enough there’s a brand new baby in your life and even though you are so very tired, the sleep schedules are not matching up. (Refer to the third paragraph.)
And even now, as our children are growing older, I still can’t help but think how much I would love to hit the pillow if it weren’t for the laundry/work/dishes which I will dutifully do while I dream wistfully about taking a nap.
Originally written 2.26.17