Dearest Rachel –
I swear, honey, I have got to learn – or perhaps, rather unlearn – about falling asleep in the rocking chair. Namely, that I really shouldn’t do that. It messes up my sleep schedule, breaking the night in half.
The trouble is, it’s too comfortable in that chair. I watch videos with Daniel after coming home from Sparks and Grief Share, and I feel my eyes start to glaze over. But rather than doing the sensible thing of picking myself up, bidding Daniel good night, and preparing myself for bed while I still can, I let myself get too comfortable in the chair, leaning back with the thought that ‘it’s only for a few moments,’ closing my eyes… only to discover in that next moment that three hours have passed, and I should really get myself off to bed where I belonged hours ago, but was too snuggled in to drag myself off there.
It’s ridiculous, it’s embarrassing, and it’s all too common an occurrence. And somehow, were I to substitute ‘rocking chair’ with ‘couch,’ I suspect you would give me a rueful smile and chuckle, and tell me, “yeah, that’s how my nights went far too often myself.”
It’s one of those reasons why falling asleep in an empty bed wasn’t nearly as difficult for me as it probably should’ve been. Back in the days when I still had to wake up for work, I would do the sensible thing, while you stayed up, insistent that you had more to do that evening and that you would somehow find the stamina to do it. So I was already used to sleeping in an otherwise empty bedroom; it was the waking up that was more difficult. Of course, at that point, there was Chompers to deal with and his needs, so I found myself having to get up, even if I didn’t really want to.
And thanks to him (at least in part), I get it. There were times when the dog needed attention, and had to go out at those weird hours. Believe me, I found that out after you were gone; and as a result, I understand now and respect why you did what you did.
But now, with him gone, I really have to unlearn that unfortunate habit. I can’t get too comfortable in that chair, because I don’t belong there; it’s a chair, not a bed. It may serve that purpose for a few hours, but it’s not meant to do so.
To be sure, Kevin used it as such; in part, because lying down to sleep has been long since not comfortable for him. His back won’t allow him to go completely horizontal for an entire night. Since I have certain back problems myself from time to time, I do understand his plight. But using a chair as a bed has some particularly unfortunate ramifications.
Chief among them is the fact that, if I get too used to sleeping sitting up, what’s to keep me from doing so at other, less opportune times? Both you and Daniel would, on the occasional Sunday morning, catch me nodding off during the service, and nudge me awake – thank you for doing that, by the way; I may not have appreciated that at the time, but there are some places where you just shouldn’t be sleeping, after all. It’s rude, it’s disrespectful – but if you’ve gotten accustomed to falling asleep in that position, what’s the stop it from that happening again?
But also, while it’s easy to fall asleep in those comfy recliners, I don’t find myself able to stay asleep for a solid eight hours in one. Part of that is, of course, because all the action (such as it is) happens in the family room – Daniel going in and out on his walkabout at night, for instance – but part of it is because we’re not necessarily meant to lie in a single position throughout an entire night, but a chair basically confines you to that. It’s not that I – or anyone else – is meant to toss and turn all night, but we do move involuntarily in our sleep as a general rule. As a result, staying asleep in that single on-ones-back position doesn’t necessarily work for most of us, whether we know it or not.
As it so happens, Daniel served as reinforcement of this theory of mind, as he to feel asleep in his own rocker/recliner. Having that done so until two or three in the morning, he should rightfully have stayed asleep until ten or eleven or so, but was awake by the time I wandered into the family room between eight and nine. Odds are, he’ll try and get some sleep during the day – not that I can speak for it, since I’ll be at the ‘office.’
Still, just another reminder that there are some places where we can’t get too comfortable. Like here on earth.