As a child, I never wanted to go to sleep for fear I'd miss something exciting or fun. I was convinced that as soon as it was "lights out" my parents (and consequent younger brothers and sisters) would close my bedroom door, lower the disco ball and "get the party started!!!" I have yet to receive verification, but I am still pretty sure this happened every night once I was far, far away in la-la land.
As a teenager, I didn't get much sleep, and was usually up until after 2pm; living it up in my boarding house, playing out the nocturnal party life I had imagined I had missed as a kid. My boarding sister(s) were always willing to provide some of the best late night entertainment EVER, and I still smile when I think of some of the stupidest, funniest things we did in the wee hours in that basement sorority house. But when my head hit that pillow there was nada until the mad dash for the bus in the morning.
Early adulthood meant finding the love of my life who was an early to bed, late to rise kind of guy, and between the two of us, our parents worried sending us off to Israel to start our wedded bliss, as they were unsure that either of us would be wakened by missiles or the like. Soon after, kids followed, and if you've got 'em, I don't have to tell you that Insomnia is NOT something you suffer from. The daily grind, plus nighttime feedings, coupled with sick babies, nightmares, accidents, you name it: you don't sleep much, but again, when you sleep, YOU SLEEP.
Enter my 30s. Take a night like tonight: In bed by 11pm, asleep shortly afterward. By 2:30am I start awake, sweaty and anxious. Well, let's take the "sweaty" part out of this drama. This is not because I am so anxious that I am sweaty. Let's be fair. I wake up sweaty because Big Abba W thinks that by lowering (raising? I never understood this part) the A/C to 72 degrees at night, and saving roughly $3.17 a month on our electricity bill, all will be right and good in the world. So, around 9pm each night, the dance begins. He breezes by the thermostat and raises it to 72. I wander by and "happen to notice" it's been put up and lower it to 68. He waits until I go out and it goes back up to 72. You get the point, and I digress...
So, I start awake with nagging, random thoughts. Some ridiculous: Why didn't I just make lunches tonight? Yes, "flotilla" does sound like a floating tortilla dish. Why does my 10 year old daughter like to wear mis-matched knee socks? How come the soccer ball I just bought at Target is deflated after only 2 days? Why do the Israeli washing machines need to heat the water before they wash the clothes? These bed sheets are MUCH less comfortable than the 300 count ones I used to have...
Then, the thoughts take a more serious turn: Who will I give all of my animals to when we leave? Will it traumatize the kids? How am I going to sell this house? Will it traumatize the kids? Where am I going to get all the extra $$ I need to start over in a new, much more expensive country? Will it traumatize the kids? Is this flotilla event leading us down the road to a War? Will it traumatize the kids?
And then, the real panic and paranoia sets in: Why didn't I call my mother today? I am leaving her! We'll never be ready in time when that lift shows up! How am I going to fly overseas with SIX kids on a TEN hour flight? What will we do there without a car?? How will I live so far away from my family!?!? How will I send FIVE sons into the army?
At this point, so close to the edge, there are two things that help me. No, not a glass of warm milk like your grandmother used to suggest. HELLO??? Grandma?? Warm milk is just about as disgusting as warm tuna fish. Or warm ice cream. Thanks, though.
Thing #1 surprisingly for me has always been putting it down in words. I have 15 journals that I kept as a kid, writing in them almost daily through some very tough times. It kept me grounded and focused. Granted, they have since been ransacked and read cover to cover through by SIX very obnoxious brothers (go ahead, ask them-they'll GLADLY tell you about every aspect of my life up until age 16), but at the time writing helped me tremendously. I guess that's why I opened my laptop tonight and wrote this post.
Thing #2 really is the kicker and goes back to my previous post "A W life lesson learned". It's all "b'yedai Shamayim", in G-d's hands. I am choosing the path and hoping/praying that it's the right one. More than that, I remind myself that everything comes from Him and that it's good.
It's all good.
And just like that, it's like I've taken the world's strongest sleeping pill. Yes, the worries are still there, but they are dulled, and lulling me back to that place in La-la land that's waiting for me.
Let's just hope the kids aren't waiting to put the disco ball back on downstairs.