Dear Sleep

Dear Sleep,

We haven’t spent much time together lately, and I miss you like crazy. No, that’s not quite right. Missing you is driving me crazy.

Maybe you feel I abused you when I was a child; pretending we were together when we weren’t, just so I could get out of doing things I didn’t want to do.

Maybe I took you for granted in my early adult-hood, when you got in the way of other things I wanted to do.

But since having a family, I realise how much you mean to me. You may think I abandoned you to be with my children; constantly parting from you so I could go to them when they cry or need the bathroom or need reassurance. But without you, I cannot give them the mother they deserve, or be the wife my husband needs. Loving them only makes me love you more.

I’ve been talking to my eldest son about you lately: Trying to explain the difference between you and death, because he wanted to know. And it’s only made me appreciate you even more. Death is so greedy and it lies; it pretends to be you but it refuses to let go. You though, always let us go back to other things we treasure, refreshed and ready to enjoy them again.

Without you, my brain is at half-speed, and my negative emotions are too intense. I’m too angry, too sad, too impatient. There’s a fuzzy grey film over my life that distorts everything. After we’ve spent time together, the film lifts and reality – for better or worse – shines through. So when I meet or hear from other people who don’t spend much time with you either, I try extra hard to be patient and understanding with them, and I hope others will do the same with me.

And finally, dear sleep, it is only because I am missing you so much that I would ever even consider anthropomorphizing you in a letter, on a blog that’s meant to be about my autistic son.

I wait anxiously until we can be together again.

Love,

The Sleepless.

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10 Responses to Dear Sleep

  1. homepaddock says:

    Anyone who has children will know exactly how you feel. When our son, who had a degenerative brain disorder, was 2 1/2 my husband and I left him and his older sister with family and went to Fiji for a week.

    For the first few days I’d take a book to the beach in the morning and wake up on the first page a couple of hours later.

    I hadn’t realised how bad I’d been feeling until I started feeling better because exhaustion had become normal.

    But hang in there, it does get better. And if you have family or friends who are able to give you a break -even a night or two, do let them – it’s not selfish, it’s looking after yourself so you’ll be better able to look after your children.

    • Thanks homepaddock.

      I can’t yet hand my eldest on to other people to look after because his behaviour is still very challenging, and his communication still too limited, and he particularly struggles with changes to routine. But these issues have all gotten gradually better over the years, and I can now foresee a time that it would be possible to pass him over to someone else for care, even if only for a night. At 5 years old, the only nights I’ve had away from him were to give birth to my youngest son!

  2. Rob Hosking says:

    Hell, yeah. To me its like the peripheral vision of life goes: too knackered to focus on anything but what is right in front of me.

    My daughter (aged 8) was up from around 1.30am this morning. Quite happy, but singing full bore and unable to comprehend the need to keep quiet. We get a lot of this, but I think we’re better off than a lot of parents of autistic kids.

    We had a particularly bad run with her sleep a couple of years ago and got someone in to help while I took a few days off. Slept for 14 hours straight, the first night.

  3. sharon says:

    Harri is going through another bad sleep patch. When I say bad, I mean it is affecting me. Usually during the night when he awakes he babbles quielty to himself and eventually after an hour or so slides back into sleep. But the last few nights he has gone back to waking and crying. Blah!
    It is amazing to me how little sleep you can get by on. If I get a full nights sleep these days I take a while to get going in the morning. It’s like coming out of a coma.

  4. Pingback: Dear Sleep « Homepaddock

  5. Rob Hosking says:

    Meant to mention this before… our daughter’s sleeping patterns get worse in the winter. That doesn’t mean summer is plain sailing, just that from May through to about October her sleep is much more disrupted than the other six months of the year.

    Was up at 11.40pm the other night. Never went back to sleep.

    • It’s amazing that people can even function on that little sleep – re both the parents and the child! Though I know full well we do; we just do it at half-mast.

      Winter does seem to make things worse – my youngest was particularly bad during the recent shift towards this Winter. Remarkably he slept an amazing 11 hours straight last night: Down at 7pm, up at 6am. First time ever, and out of the blue. I’m not sure how he pulled it off, but I’m incredibly glad that he did. My eldest also didn’t get up at all last night. Double-whammy! I am feeling rather human this morning. I know it’s unlikely to last – tonight might be hell again – but I’ll happily take whatever I can get.

  6. Rob Hosking says:

    “I am feeling rather human this morning. ”

    I know just what you mean. I’ve had the time when I’ve caught up on sleep and I go ‘wow, exuberance – I used to feel like this the whole time!’

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