I know it might seem at first blush that I’m attempting to pull a fast one here by being thankful for what is essential the same basic thing from a parenting perspective. I mean, what else do bedtime and naptime represent for us but a brief respite from the constant need to wipes faces, tie shoes, produce meals that contain more than the nutritional content of a cardboard box, a Twinkie, and a bottle of Yoohoo, break up fights, listen with
feigned rapt attention to the intricate details of Doctor Domino’s plan to take over Rainbow Dash and Optimus Prime’s Thanksgiving dinner, and basically make sure the lives of our progeny are meeting the criteria for A Successful Childhood as determined by parenting magazines and discerning, judgmental neighborhood gossips everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong; that is exactly what I’m thankful for with respect to Day 24. By the time the hall clock chirps bedtime every night, I’m sprinting up the stairs to manage tooth brushing for bedtime like a dog who heard the can opener whirring and knows there’s a heap of something gross but yummy waiting for him in his food dish. Reading bedtime stories every night is one of my favorite things, because, even if you completely disregard how it builds an lifelong interest in reading, it means I get to go sit quietly in a dark room and think thoughts of my own for a few hours. Even on the days where the thoughts are as sparse as a tumbleweed rolling across some dusty western street, dammit, it’s my tumbleweed, at least.
By naptime, though, I’m not talking about their naptime. Oh, no, perish the thought. I mean, for one thing, my kids are all too old for naps nowadays anyway. If one of them falls asleep, the Puddinette and I immediately make for the pots and pans and start banging out enough noise to be registered by sonar operators on nuclear submarines, hundreds of miles offshore and fathoms and fathoms deep into the Atlantic. Because afternoon sleeping means they won’t ready for nighttime sleeping when bedtime rolls around later. And considering how much importance I just laid over the concept of bedtime, I think we can all agree that an insomniac child is a catastrophe of nightmarish proportions. I’m not saying that I’m certain I’d rather be sealed in an airtight box with 5000 spiders than deal with the kids not interested in sleep at bedtime…but I’m not not saying it either.
The naptime in question for Day 25, though? That’s my naptime, Virginia. Because after a long week of laboring under the boot heel of The Man, on a cold Sunday afternoon when the fire is burning, the weekly chores have been completed, and the Honey-Do list can be conveniently ignored for one more week without incurring the wrath of the Puddinette, well, there are few things better than nodding off with the sound of football in the background while snuggled down on a big comfy recliner that’s got all the right creases in all the places. And I don’t care if it’s only thirty minutes or a decadent three hours, that kind of peace and comfort can recharge a pair of 41-year faltering batteries better than any newfangled spa treatment including soy or sand or stones or someone I don’t know touching my feet.
In closing: sleep is good. So good. Even if all of my favorite sleep doesn’t refer to the nightly (theoretical) eight.