I have wonderful friends. And family. I’m lucky.
But the bar can always be raised, right? Right? We all went to a friend’s house the other day. Regular readers will know about my ongoing (whining about) mental health problems. It had been one of those weeks.
What is the best thing to do to help a friend who is struggling? I am rubbish at helping other people with their mental health – I know what it feels like, not how to help.
But this friend, she knew. She didn’t ask anything of me, not even my company. I was tucked up on a day bed, in their spare room, with my youngest, and a computer playing Spiderman and the Spiderverse. I had a power nap and managed to keep up with the story.
It was the best visit ever. Thanks guys!
I slept till after nine this morning, and I don’t mean dozing, or lazing, or duvet diving. I mean sleeping.
This is the kind of sleep that drags you downwards into bliss, the sleep that triumphs over daybreak, obliterating awareness of the light. Plans made before bedtime are voided and cheerful greetings of the new day are postponed, sometimes indefinitely.
And I love it. I have always loved it. Throughout the teenage years, I especially loved it. During the child-rearing years, I longed for it with the yearning of the abandoned, in despair of ever again having and holding. Then the alarm-clock years, when weekend visitation rights were reinstated and hope was restored.
Now it’s back, fully pledged to me at last, bringing the precious gift of guilt-free slumber into the depth of winter mornings. Welcome home, my lifelong love.
The alarm went off at six, because it always does. My precious writing hour. It used to be my only writing hour, between six and seven in the morning.
But today I just – didn’t. I was going to. Then I was going to get up at seven, get the kids to school. Be a mum.
But today I just – didn’t. I didn’t even ask Mr HB if he could deal with them (he never asks me!). I just stayed in bed, and he got the message. I would normally wake when he got up, then stay awake.
But today I just – didn’t. I went back to sleep, and only woke up when the ‘have you got your coats?’ reached the top of its crescendo. Then my favourite, special feeling – how the house fills, settles, feels, once everyone leaves for school.
*having a carry on: Scottish for misbehaving, being giddy.
It is an hour and a half since I put the oldest to bed, and here I am climbing the stairs again.
It’s my turn, as Mr HB went up half an hour ago.
‘Why won’t you go to sleep? You are both grumpy all day, and then when we put you to bed, you have a carry on* for hours.’
‘Mummy, it’s too light.’
‘It is not. You’re not even trying to sleep. Go to bed. And no more nonsense!’
I went to bed early, as I usually do, and a grey light came through the curtains, even at half ten when I put my light off.
5am, and I’m up again. The sun is already up, the sky is blue. I realise the kids were right:
it’s too light.
a fallen leaf,
the hand of a child in mine,
real butter on real bread.
A hot shower,
the feeling of cleanliness,
a crisp, dry towel.
The warmth of a fire after a walk in the wind and rain,
A conversation that winds around us,
a perfect idea
discovered at its heart.
The clarity and space of a day of fasting;
the joy of a day of eating.
and the written word.
Stories and sounds that enter into your soul and reside.
Being able to see the stars.
A harvest moon.
Clean, safe water in every tap in the house.
A door that closes and locks,
but also opens readily
for a welcome.
Friends that are nearby,
friends far away,
family right here,
family over the phone.
Deep, peaceful, healing sleep.
Today I have been thinking about…tiredness.
I say, ‘thinking about,’ more accurately, I have been ‘being tired’. The children woke me with yelps and screams at two minutes to six (two minutes to six!). Proof of how tired I was lay with me, as I fell asleep again immediately.
Later, I had to put the radio on for fear of not waking in time. I dragged myself through breakfast and shower and church (sorry church). I’m home now and behind schedule. I’m ratty with people. I’m sooooooo tired.
However, do not for one second sympathise with me. I have been out three evenings this week. I danced for hours on Friday. I had a special day with my wee boys on Saturday. I even fell asleep on my comfy sofa at 7:30pm last night.
My lovely, busy, tiring tinylife.