Many years ago, when we were first married, I was one wink away from passing out on the couch when Andy jokingly told me he wouldn't have married me if he knew how much I slept. I've missed out on a lot of things due to my love for sleep. As a kid, I was up when the sun rose and down with the sun set, so sometimes that meant I was ready for bed as early as 5 o'clock.
College is a place for night owls but this didn't change my sleeping habits. While most of my friends were chatting and putting in extra study hours, I was sound asleep in room, even if that meant my roommates and their friends were hanging out with the lights on while I snoozed in my twin bed just a few feet away. I can't say that I ever pulled an all-nighter to finish a paper or project. Being a college student is exhausting, and also a time to make one's own schedule. In addition to going to bed early, I also fit in several daytime naps.
I followed a similar pattern in graduate school, although I eliminated the napping. While I did my best to act like a normal twenty-something on Friday nights at the bar, hanging out for karaoke until closing time, on most evenings, I was in my jammies in bed by 8 pm. Fortunately, I chose to complete my graduate studies in one of the sleepiest towns in the country, particularly between October through May. It seemed like a make a good life choice.
In so many ways, Andy is my opposite, and when it comes to sleep this is for sure. Andy is nocturnal except he's super annoying in that he doesn't need to sleep in. I wish I could tell you what time he goes to bed, but I fear that sometimes, the answer is never. He's almost always awake when I fall asleep and he rises shortly after me, which is usually between 5:30 and 6:30 each morning. He also can sleep sitting up and wearing day clothes, belt and all. Our sleep patterns fascinate one another and we make it an irregular practice to take photos of each other sleeping, usually with some sort of pet on our heads.
I know I've missed out on fun times, checking off tasks on my to-do list, or quality time with friends and Andy, especially, because of my dedication to this important solitary activity. We all need time to do something alone, especially when we are married or living with someone. Everyone needs that one thing that they do by themselves, for themselves. Yours may be yoga, or kayaking, reading a good book or gardening. Mine is sleep. Andy has his activity, too.
When you are married, the question is, what is the other partner doing while the solitary activity takes place? To illustrate the answer, I thought I'd share some little poems that Andy and I might write to one another to explain what we are doing while the other is taking part in precious solo time. I hope you enjoy these poems, a window into our worlds, theoretically written from the heart.
While You Were Sleeping
While you were sleeping, I wrote my thesis.
While you were sleeping, I watched 300 SyFy movies.
While you were sleeping, I painted the dining room.
While you were sleeping, I wrote 4000 emails.
While you were sleeping, I knocked down the old shed behind our house.
While you were sleeping, I tried to fix the hot tub.
While you were sleeping, I cleaned up kid puke.
While you were sleeping, I rocked our colicky baby.
While you were sleeping, I wrote 50 grants.
While you were sleeping. I hung the bedroom curtains.
While you were sleeping, I kept telling you to wake up so you wouldn't miss the end of The Walking Dead.
While you were sleeping, I said good bye to our Halloween party guests because you took off your costume at 8 and told everyone to keep partying while you fell asleep on the couch.
While you were sleeping, I put our kid back to bed after she was sleep walking.
While you were sleeping, I rolled you over to look for the remote so I could turn off the TV.
While you were sleeping, I mowed the lawn with a head lamp.
While you were sleeping, I made 2 dozen batches of Skotcheroos for your co-workers.
While you were sleeping, I cleaned the litter pans.
While you were sleeping, I took a picture of you with your glasses on sideways and 3 cats on your head.
While you were sleeping on the couch, snoring, I was happy you were quiet and not reading me headlines from The Onion.
While you were sleeping on the couch, with your feet in my lap, I was happy you are next to me every night.
Now, my turn:
While You Were Pooping
While you were pooping, I was writing my thesis.
While you were pooping, I read 50 books.
While you were pooping, I talked to my mom on the phone for an hour.
While you were pooping, I made dinner.
While you were pooping, I folded the laundry.
While you were pooping, I looked all around the house because I couldn't find you and you'd been missing for such a long time.
While you were pooping, I wrote my blog.
While you were pooping, I gave the girls a bath and read them 4 stories.
While you were pooping, I cleaned the kitchen and the living room and the dining room and then I was pretty sad that I'd just cleaned the bathroom before you went in there.
While you were pooping, I managed a tantrum.
While you were pooping, I separated the girls because they were kicking each other.
While you were pooping, I was impatient and tried to move the wing chair and gashed the hard wood floor.
While you were pooping, I went for a 3 mile run.
While you were pooping, I birthed a child. Just kidding, you were there both times, but I birthed Charlotte is less time than you average in the bathroom most days.
Speaking of poop and birth, I'm sorry I did those, like at the same time, and you saw it.
While you were pooping, I stood on the other side of the door and yelled at you, or read my blog, or shouted headlines from The Onion.
While you were pooping, I texted you.
While you were pooping, I missed you because we have so much fun together and I wanted you to come out and help me and hang out with me and WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE FOR SO LONG ANYWAY?!.