Tag Archives: Relaxation

A Change is as Good as a Rest.

This past Saturday morning I wanted nothing more than to snuggle deeper into the covers and stay there. After a month of early rising and little sleep, I wanted to remain in my cocoon and hide from the world.

The very idea of rising to shower, dress and leave the house when there were no appointments to go to seemed like a punishment I didn’t deserve. But my daughter-in-law had put me on notice.

While we were all consumed with being at the hospital, she quietly took over the care and feeding of the troops, including the out-of-towners. And she paid special care and attention to my granddaughter.  We didn’t know what to tell her, she being only six. My first impulse was to protect her and tell her nothing. But how to explain the sudden disappearance of her beloved Pa?

My daughter-in-law handled it all, quietly and efficiently. So quietly and efficiently, I began to feel guilty. My son was a constant at my side, and took turns with me spending nights at the hospital, while his wife was left alone to carry the ball for the whole family.

I made a mental note to do something for her, someday, when I was not so tired, but she got ahead of me. She was taking me out to lunch and a massage she said. And though I reluctantly got out of bed and left the house that morning, leaving my son at home with his dad, I felt a little lighter by the time we made it to the corner a block away.

It turned out to be the right medicine for me. To move away, just far enough, just long enough to breathe free air.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch of specialty pizza with a lot of much-needed sangria. And afterwards we walked down blistering hot streets to the massage place. Even the boiling sun felt good.

The massage hurt, though I’d asked for light to medium pressure to be applied. Too many tense and knotted muscles in my back. Later when we compared notes, I found out that her massage had hurt too, for the same reason.

Nonetheless, it was a good experience. The dim lighting, the gentle, soothing voice of the masseuse and her otherwise healing touch, the sense of letting go and just allowing myself to be was something I hadn’t realized how much I needed until that moment.

Now I have something else to be grateful to her for. And I still need to come up with something to do for her.

Us, a few Mother's Days ago.

Us, a few Mother’s Days ago.

 

 

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Sleep Talking

I used to wonder why we even slept. It seemed such a waste of time.

I remember regretting having to sleep back when I was raising young children and holding down an evening job. I would wake early, and having never been a morning person made that a hard thing to do. I’d get my kids off to school and when I got home the couch was like a magnet drawing me in. Just for a moment, I’d think. Just for a moment.

I’d wake up close to noon, astonished it was so late. Then rush to do a full day’s chores in two hours’ time. Shower, dress and drive down the block, park and wait for my kids to round the corner from the school and hop in. If I drove the last half-block to the school I’d get tangled up in all the Mom traffic and never make it to work on time.

After a few never-ending minutes of craning my neck to see around that corner, I’d hotfoot it down to the hospital, pull up at the daycare on the premises, unload my kids and my guilt for the day. Drive to the parking garage, power walk to the building, run upstairs (I could do that back then), clock in, and then wash the day away as I went about my nursing duties. Nothing else existed for me during those eight-plus hours.

After midnight I’d reverse the process, help/carry my sleeping kids inside, tuck them in their beds and collapse into mine. If I was lucky I’d be asleep by 2:00 a.m. And then by 7:00 a.m. the cycle had reset.

I slept like the dead back then, the sleep of exhaustion. I was on my own those days, my husband sailing the ocean blue for months at a time as a merchant marine. I needed a jump-start every single day. Even so, I berated myself; I could be so much more productive if I didn’t have to sleep the morning away!

I forgive myself now that I sleep the sleep of the needy. For if I don’t get enough sleep, whether all at once or in several doses, whatever aches I may have go up the pain scale. I can count on that; I can solidly bet on that.

My rheumatologist understood this before I did and offered me Flexeril years ago. It’s a muscle relaxer which has the side benefit of making you drowsy. I try my best to remember to take the small dose most nights. Sleep is crucial for quality of life and allows some wondrous processes to take place.

And with sleep, as with story writing, setting can be of vital importance. I decided I would make my bed as conducive to sleep as I could, and wondered how best to dress it. I knew hotel sleep always seems so much more refreshing, the beds plush and inviting. I wake rejuvenated, refurbished even.

I figured it had to do with the novelty of my surroundings, and the letting go of daily obligations for a while. And then I read this article. It was because of the white beds, it said. Aha, I thought, I can do that.

“These sheets feel so awesome,” my husband said, sliding between them for the first time. He’d never commented on new sheets before, or even noticed when there were new sheets. I decided not to clue him in as to why they might feel “awesome.” After all, a little mystery goes a long way.

But I’ve noted that his bits of insomnia have disappeared. He no longer complains about his new career keeping him awake. Perhaps it’s because after several months he’s settled into the job. Or perhaps it’s because of our consistently snowy bed.