“Mom, what’s your favorite thing to do?” One will ask me.
My first answer is sleep. Sleeping is my favorite thing to do. I love my warm bed, my soft sheets, and resting my head onto my fluffy pillow. Everything is so serene there. So tranquil.
Of course, I do not say. After all, how does someone tell their oldest child, the one who’s ventured out of his room to hold a conversation with you, which doesn’t revolve around asking for money, questioning why he can’t go to his friend’s party in the middle of a pandemic or lying about his clean room, which you know is still loaded with the missing forks and cups, that your favorite thing to do is close your eyes and spend time in your bed?
Instead, you give the typical answer.
“My favorite thing to do is to hang with you guys as a family.”
The answer, while sounding super June Cleaver-ish, isn’t false. I do love hanging out with my children- when they’re not fighting. I love gathering around the dinner table- when they’re not fighting. And going places with them-when they are not fighting. But there’s something about sleep that I just can’t get enough of. The act of closing my eyes and melting into my bed makes me so happy. So happy that I often wonder if my happiness for sleep is a wavering sign of depression.
On the opposite side of sleep, is my admiration for waking up early, 4:50 a.m. (pre-corona time) 5:10-5:30 (existing corona time), to be exact. My alarm wakes and I pop out of bed with such gusto that my husband used to think an intruder was coming into the room. There are some days when I answer the craving and fall back into my bed, happily snoozing the alarm until 5:45, but they are rare. I like my mornings. I head downstairs in the darkness and jump on my exercise bike, a corona purchase that I’m doing my best to utilize to wipe the 14 pandemic pounds from my thighs, and engross myself in the music and instructor on the screen. I then start my coffee, jump into the shower, which I rush through to have time with my coffee, complete a five-minute assertive meditation while I do my make-up, (I swear one day I will become assertive enough to turn it off), and head back downstairs to drink my favorite cup of coffee of the day. I sit in the living room, beside an oversized yellow lamp and play with some writing ideas, before I head back upstairs to fight with One to wake up and get dressed.
“Mom, I’m only going on the computer. I don’t need to get dressed!”
“Yes, you do!”
“I’m not getting dressed mom!”
“At least brush your teeth! People see those!”
“No, they don’t, mom. No one cares about my teeth.”
“Do you want me to call your father in here?”
One grunts, sighs, throws back blankets, and stomps into the bathroom in the best version of Stomp I’ve seen. Here he runs water, while mumbling about how ridiculous I am, which lets me know he still didn’t brush his teeth.
I wake Two and Three on my way down, as the stomping beast continues to mumble about clothes, virtual learning, and his unbrushed teeth. I smooch the two happy ones, make a healthy breakfast of chocolate waffles and fruit and join them at the table to talk over YouTube. I usually get sucked in, and find myself evaluating the YouTuber’s house, Google what they’ve made the past year, and clean up breakfast encouraging Two and Three to try and make a YouTube channel while I am at work.
I think of my bed and how much I love it as I search for my shoes and a pair of earrings. I make sure my sheets are pulled tight and tucked in at the corners for our evening rendezvous. I consider hugging it bed goodbye so it knows how much I miss it, but my husband is talking to me and I can hear One’s teacher calling him in the distance, so I avoid the action for fear of the questions that will come directly after.
Everyone kisses me goodbye as I walk out the door-an irony that lost its humor six months into the lockdown. Work is a whirlwind of press, writing, meetings, and more meetings. I search the Brady Bunch boxes for the most interesting characters- the ones eating or falling asleep or fighting with someone in the background- while I smile and take notes. I try to tell myself this is all material for a great story one day.
Once home I make dinner, fight with everyone to come down to eat the dinner, fight with everyone not to fight over dinner, clean dinner, look over One’s schoolwork, where I surprisingly find two missing assignments that we have to sit down and do, make sure kids are in PJs, read a story to Three. Cuddle, kiss:
“I love you more than you love me.”
“That’s impossible because I just said it.”
I finally make it to the couch, sit beside The Husband to watch a show, make it 30 minutes in, and fall asleep on his shoulder. He doesn’t move and kindly lets me sleep until the show has ended, where he then nudges me to go to bed-my favorite part of the day!
On the way up the stairs, I fight with Two whose room is still filled with food. I kiss him goodnight and he begins to talk about his day. I’m longing for my bed, but I smile and listen, and then encourage him to brush his teeth. Three is asleep. I creep back into his room and kiss him goodnight. Then there’s One, who’s ready for a fight the moment I walk into his room.
“All my friends stay up late! We don’t even leave the house for school. What does sleep matter?”
The fight lasts around 20 minutes before he gives up, brushes his teeth- while I watch- and stomps back to bed. White flashing lights seep through his door crack like Stranger Things. Annoyed, I call the husband who comes up and takes One’s phone away, which welcomes fight 3,220 of the night. I grow tense as I’m eager to get to my favorite part of the day, and I end up shouting at One and Two, who are still resisting the one thing I adore.
I get into my bed, annoyed, yank the sheets to my neck, and set the alarm, which reads 7 hrs and 2 minutes. Damn it! One and Two sneak back into my room, kiss me on the forehead, and happily trot back, giving each other a few punches as they cross paths. I can hear their games beeping in the background as I drift off to sleep. Let my husband take on this fight, I think. Besides, Three will be up within hours, dragging me from my bed as his nightly bloody nose gushes all over my floor. I’ll fight with the dog who will try to steal his bloody tissues and search for clean washcloths to place on the back of Three’s neck.
By the time I crawl back into bed, the bathroom floor clean and Three is tucked in tight, I wonder about my bed and my admiration for it. Maybe I am depressed, I think as I close my eyes once again. Maybe my love for this inanimate object holds a deeper purpose-a rooted mental illness that needs to be looked into. My favorite thing to do is sleep. I must remember to WebMD that….. but my brain falls into slumber before I can remember to explore my condition any further.