I must have started to write three different times this afternoon, but my brain felt sludgy and clogged, like a sewage drain. Nothing was really speaking to me, and the blessings that did come to mind were cliché: love, friendship, healing, serendipity, flowers. Although of course I am grateful for those things, without which the stresses of the last year would have squashed me like a bug on a windshield. Searching for inspiration, I pulled an affirmation card from a Nature deck I bought when I needed a muse: “Winter Solstice” – pause for reflection, review, rest, imagine, move forward. The illustration was wintry and cool, all icy blues and deep snow in a forest of naked birches, the popsicle of cards to have pulled on a day when the temperature tops 90 degrees. I reflected on the prompts for some time, the invitation to take a break, to rest, to honor the fallow moments of quiet, the waiting times, the deep freeze.
This is all a poetic way of telling you I took a snooze on the living room couch.
I slept for about twenty minutes, waking to a drizzle of drool on my bicep, and Cordelia looking at me curiously from the floor. This is not my typical afternoon behavior. Those twenty minutes were pure gold – not so much that I won’t sleep tonight, but enough to reboot my brain.
I’ve always loved to nap. When I was pregnant with Nate, I was a teacher at a high school about an hour from home. There was a big break between morning classes and my afternoon theater program, so I stashed a sleeping bag in my office and curled up under the desk every afternoon for a serious first-trimester snooze, more hibernation than catnap. A couple of my students—boys—found me once, my office was in the theater shop, off the beaten track for kids, so I thought I was safe. Their expressions when they saw me snoring on the floor were gobsmacked. “Mrs. K, are you ok?” They probably thought I’d been drinking.
Up until they were three or so, my kids loved their naps. They thudded like fallen trees down onto the crib mattress, waking with their hair curled against sweaty foreheads, clutching an over-loved scrap of blankie or stuffed bunny, eyes bright and ready for action. When they began to fight off sleep, I thought “Nooooooo!” I don’t know who needed their naps more, the overstimulated toddler, or the overtired mom. Can you imagine resisting a nap?
When I first left my job six years ago, though, I did feel weird falling asleep during the day. It confirmed my sense of interstitial otherness – no workplace, no kids to tend to, only dogs, dinner, errands, and whatever else I freelanced up. Studying neuroscience, I’ve since learned that naps are super-charged brainfood. Any excuse….