When the alarm goes off in the morning, and your brain’s cells begin to stir, a myriad of possible “first thoughts” might pop into your head.
“The minivan needs gas for the morning car pool.” “Should I forgive my husband for the fight we had last night?” “Don’t forget to get something for Father’s Day.” “I wonder if Junior will pass his Calculus exam.”
None of these early morning contemplations can accurately predict the course of the rest of your day, but there is one particular “first thought” that is a definite Red Flag. If you wake up in the morning, and think, “I need a nap,” you can bet your overpriced wrinkle cream that the rest of your day is pretty much gonna blow.
I know this, because that is exactly what I’ve been thinking lately. I’ve been dragging my weary bones out of bed all week, when all I want to do is crawl back under the covers and hide from the inevitable calamity of my unmanageable schedule.
Is it the exams, events and final grade panic of the end of the school year that’s got me wanting to stay in bed? Well, not quite. Is it my son’s Eagle Scout Ceremony, which we insanely decided to host at our house this weekend for over 50 people? Well, not exactly. Is it the fact that my husband is being wined and dined all week while on a work trip in South America while I am left driving this runaway train? Well, yes, but not entirely.
Or could it be that we are moving to Rhode Island in a few days, and we’re nowhere near ready? Well, yeah, maybe. Or is it the fact that I am frantically scribbling this column on a legal pad at Starbucks, because I just killed my laptop when I knocked my coffee onto the keyboard 12 minutes ago, and fear that I might have to use my thumbs to tap this thing into my Smartphone to get it to the editors? Hell yes, truth be told.
But it’s not any one thing that has me dreaming of naps. It’s the totality of my circumstances as a middle-aged Navy wife and mother of three teens.
Recently, I was lamenting my to my neighbor, a 25 year Navy wife with two grown boys, when she validated my malaise. “Yea, I remember when the boys were in high school,” she said, “and I told my husband one day, ‘I’m exhausted.’ He told me to go take a nap, and I told him, ‘No, I mean, I’m globally tired after 18 years of raising kids. Thirty minutes of shut eye ain’t gonna cut it.’”
Ironically, now that her boys have flown the coop and she’s an empty nester, she’s napping more than ever, just because she can.
The rest of us middle-aged moms must keep slogging along, waiting for the day when our schedules ease up enough that we can enjoy the luxury of a delicious afternoon nap. In the meantime, we can take comfort in the [slightly modified] immortal words of poet Emma Lazarus, thoughtfully inscribed on the base of our Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your befuddled housewives yearning to break free,
With wretched refuse in their teeming heads.
Send these, the napless, tempest-tost to me,
And I’ll tuck them all into their comfy beds!”