More Letters, Part 2

Looks like I have some more letters to write. So, without further adieu, let’s get right down to it, shall we? Dear I Can’t Sleep, Why do you wake me up in the middle of the night for no apparent … Continue reading

Henry’s Biological Clock

Henry’s Biological Clock

NaBloPoMo DAY 6: My dog, Henry, has a biological clock and it’s ticking like crazy. Lately it’s been telling him 5 a.m. If there’s anything you should know about 5 a.m., it’s that it’s very early. Outrageously early. Which can … Continue reading

The Family That Naps Together…

The Family That Naps Together…

Every family has its specialty. It’s something unique that runs in the family. For example, some families boast a long line of musically-inclined people. Others have a bevy of captains and generals and run their families like they’re all in the military. Think Captain Von Trapp and his whistle (although his family was into belting showtunes, too). Continue reading

My Night as a College Student

I figured out the key to survival as a college student: you have to be a vampire. Or, at least, be ready to live like one.

Here’s why I know this to be true.  Recently, I got to spend one wintry night in my daughter’s dorm room. That’s when I discovered that college students can stay awake until daybreak, the hour vampires fear most. During the night these young folk eat, drink and mindlessly chatter as if it’s the middle of the day. They do not know the meaning of a good night’s sleep and thanks to them, neither do I.

Roughing it with Sarah in her dorm room.

This all started the night before my trip to Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday.  My daughter, Sarah, asked me if I would sleep in her dorm room on my first night in that toddlin’ town.

Excuse me? Is that the sound of crazy talk I hear?

In other words, instead of going to my brother and his wife’s comfortable home with a comfortable queen-size guest bed, I was to go directly to jail (I mean, the dorm), do not pass Go, and absolutely do not pine for the luxury of uninterrupted, blissful sleep.

Wait. Does she know how old I am? I mean, is that even allowed? For a woman of my age to spend the night among a bevy of college students—in a coed dorm? Aren’t there rules about this? These are the things that went through my head. But here’s what I said to Sarah:

“What a great idea! I’d love to stay with you!”

I said this because I consider myself to be a good mother and good mothers realize that such invitations from their grown children come once in a blue moon. So if one of my kids wants me to stay with them—whether in a dorm room or a truck stop—I’m all in. Consequences, be damned!

Though I had to wonder, wouldn’t Sarah be embarrassed to have her mom stay with her, hanging around like some fish out of water or, worse, a damsel in distress?  (Which I would definitely be if I had to wait in line just to use the bathroom because there were eight kids ahead of me.) I knew I’d be embarrassed. In fact, it never occurred to me to ask my mother to stay in the dorm with me when I was going to college. Might as well have asked her if she wanted to get high.

But Sarah isn’t me and for that I’m grateful. She is a thoughtful, level-headed young woman. Although, if you ask me, she does happen to have my knack for laying on the guilt. All she had to do was pointedly remind me that I hadn’t yet seen her dorm room, on account that I didn’t help her move in this year, like I did the year before. True, I had sheepishly decided not to fly out with her for move-in day. So now, being her mother’s daughter, she was throwing it in my face. Touché!

And here I was. Me, who’s accustomed to the finer things, like the Hilton or the Hyatt, reduced to staying in a dorm room on the third floor of a building with no working elevators and the smell of sweat clinging to the hallway walls. Perhaps I could look at it as an adventure. I was slumming it. I was now one of the few, the proud, the parents who dare stay over in their kid’s dorm. Word on the street was that last fall, a dad had spent a night in his son’s room but had never been seen coming out. Alive. Sheesh. The sacrifices a parent makes for their children—don’t get me started!

Luckily, Sarah did her best to accommodate me, letting me use her bed while she slept on the hard, cold floor, in a sleeping bag borrowed from a friend. The sounds of mayhem, deafening chatter and earsplitting music  kept me awake until sunrise and provided me plenty of time to reflect on the peccadilloes of my own college days.

Meanwhile, Sarah slept soundly, completely oblivious to the cacophony of sounds.  She was unaware, too, that her mom was wondering if daylight would ever break. Thankfully, it did. At which time, said mom finally fell into peaceful slumber—for a full two hours. Having pulled an all-nighter, there were no sugarplums dancing in this head. Instead, there was the reoccurring nightmare of taking an Economics 101 final exam—without ever having attended the class. Darn. Nothing like reliving the old days.

Sleepless in the City

New York. The city that never sleeps. Isn’t that what Frank Sinatra sang in his homage to the Big Apple? “I want to wake up in that city that never sleeps.” While that may sound ultra cool and hip when you’re in the blossom of your youth, it’s another thing when you’re fifty plus and sleep is a requisite for living.

I need my sleep and I’d like it right now if you don’t mind. In fact, I’d be happy if this little town slept four, maybe five hours. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

Instead, I’m feeling a painful stinging in my eyes, reminding me that I had to wake up at 3:30 this morning, walk my dog at 4, head for the airport at 4:30, to be ready to fly out of San Diego at 6. Eyes wide shut, begging me to sleep. A little shut eye, please. Perhaps a catnap? I promise I won’t ask for anything more.

Oh, sleep, where art thou? Alas, even my Bose headphones–the ones that successfully block out airplane noise and babies crying–cannot abate the cacophony of urban sounds. Sirens, car alarms, honking, buses picking up passengers, trucks unloading their wares. A van backfiring. And, across the street, in this very tony neighborhood, just blocks from the U.N., is a house of somewhat ill repute. Or at least one with a large blue light swinging in the doorway and a string of men going in, coming out and hanging out on the curb. In my sleep-deprived delirium, I wonder what a 20-minute power nap would feel like.

Sleep. Oh Mr. Sandman, won’t you bring me a dream? At this point, I’d settle for a nightmare. Curse you, my home in San Diego for spoiling me with solitude and quiet nights. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, now but a distant memory. Two in the morning now and the city outside my third-story window is still going strong.

I contemplate whether I can wait until I return home to finally get my shut eye. And then I remember: I’m here in town for my high school reunion. Class of 19-gazillion years ago. First reunion ever for me. And I see myself arriving in a new outfit purchased specially for this occasion, and marred only by the immense dark circles around my eyes that make me look like a petrified raccoon.

Sleep, the elusive sleep. The torture of it all. Three o’clock now. Perhaps I’m finally getting tired after all. Dare I hope? Dare I dream?….Wait. Is that a jackhammer I hear?