I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks. But I have been too tired.
Every new mother knows why sleep deprivation is included in the UN Convention Against Torture. I don’t need to elaborate on that. Instead, I want to write an ode to sleep – because as Sophie says, the world cannot have too many odes.
Sleep – how I never really appreciated your full qualities! I used to take you for granted, a steady companion on life’s road. Sure, I was always a light sleeper – I used to get up, even before pregnancy, to go to the loo a few times a night. And I can’t remember the number of times I would wake with anxious thoughts swirling through my head, or I would be too excited to get to sleep for hours on end. But that was never your fault, oh sleep. You were always there for me – and now I can only regret that I wasn’t always there for you. Alas, the past one cannot retrieve, and all those hours of sleep I would gladly accompany to your dark, unconscious home if only I had known how short our journey together truly would be.
Now that I can never predict the time I might have in my own bed, I can appreciate the luxury of simply lying down and knowing that this could be my sole past time for the next eight hours, should I so choose it. Alas that I did not know it then!
Oh sleep, my dear friend, my confidante, my journeyman! Oh sleep, my long-lost partner on this, the newest phase of my life travels when I miss you most! Oh sleep, oh ancient companion, oh mender and dreamer and connector of the disparate threads in my brain! Too long did I take you for granted; too long did I imagine my awakened brain was superior to the quiet labours you took, unnoticed, unthanked, to keep my mind together and process the day’s messages. Now I have you not, my memory is lost, my vocabulary dispirited, my writing one-sided.
Oh sleep, whenever you feel it is time to return to these forgotten shores, I will welcome you back with the fanfare you so fully deserve – a sigh of contentment, a nod to your necessity, and an absence of all calculations as to how long it might be that I can stay with you this time.