Dear Sleep

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dear Sleep,

We have a strained relationship, you and me.  I want you, I need you, I love you, it's true.  But, I also hate to need you, don't have time for you, and can't live without you all the same.  What's with you, Sleep?  How do you get me so frenzied and tease me with the lure of clean sheets and soft pillows only to be interrupted by toddlers and bad dreams and the occasional indigestion.  You can be cruel.

You weren't always so elusive.  I can still remember having you around so often that I basked in the luxury of having you.  I would run late to class, church, even meeting up with friends because I was too busy spending time with you.  They might roll their eyes at me, call me a procrastinator, and I most likely made many excuses about why I wouldn't be on time...but, the secret truth was that I loved you and wasn't very concerned with disappointing others at the risk of spending another second with you.

Oh, sweet Sleep.  I took you for granted.  Years ago, when I would willingly choose to ignore you so that I could joke around with others into the wee morning, or ignore you when I had to focus on a college paper that was due or a project I had left until the last minute, I simply held no gratitude for your talents.  Perhaps I was jaded by the possibility of missing something bigger, something grander, something more exciting, and so I blew you off time and again, only to come begging back for more when I truly missed you.  I'm sorry.

Sleep, it hasn't always been easy.  There's been many nights when I tried to get in touch with you and couldn't.  I've had a rough go at times, sitting in silence and missing you and preoccupying myself with ways to entice you back.  Some nights I thought you'd left for good, finally fed up with not being appreciated, leaving me to watch TV, read a book, or succumb to writing out my feelings until I finally, finally found you and collapsed helplessly into you.

And now, we're nearly strangers.  We've been haphazardly apart for so long since my babies have been born.  I hardly recognize you when I'm in your presence and you feel like a charade of something I once used to be good at.  Every night, I long for you and when we finally meet it feels like a strange reunion with an old roommate I haven't seen in years:  familiar, yet displaced.

I'm sorry, Sleep.  Please come back for good.  I promise to be more appreciative, more attentive, more attuned to what we need.  I know we can make it work, I just know it.  I've recently gotten a new glimpse of you, one that comes with dreams of joy and dedicated blocks of time with full attention, and I've got to say - I really want more.  I've missed you, Sleep.  I don't deserve it, but I'm asking you to stay.  I know now that I need you around, forever and at regular intervals of time, not just when I think I'm desperate for you.

Who knows, maybe it's because I'm getting older or because your arch enemies Stress and Exercise visit me more often than they used to...but, that's no reason to end something good that we once had.  What do you say, Sleep?  Will you give me one more chance to make it right?  I've got some warm milk and some Benadryl waiting just for you.  I've fluffed the pillows just like you remember.  I'll even hum a round of Sunrise, Sunset to send us drifting away together.

Sleep, just know that from now on, I'm ready to be a team.  I'm ready to absorb all you have to give.  I'm ready to rest.  I need you, Sleep, and I've come to a place where I recognize that you are necessary for more than just cognitive are also best friends with Sanity and Motivation!  And I really love them too (seriously, bring them around more often if you can!)  Thank you for never letting me down, Sleep.  For always being there at just the moment I can't find restoration anywhere else.  For never leaving me for good when I tried so hard to shove you away.  And, for showing up just in the nick of time when I'm so ready to welcome you back.

I love you, Sleep.  Never go.



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