Just Go To Bed

The Next Family

By: Tanya Goodman

Today, I took to my bed. I didn’t have a fever, I hadn’t broken a limb, I was just really, really tired. I just wanted to settle myself under an afghan and take a few hours off. Though I’m very well behaved, I rarely feel that I deserve a few uninterrupted hours of sloth.

I am trying to change that.

It’s silly that I’ve reached the ripe old age of… well, whatever, and still have a hard time letting myself let it all go.

One of the great joys of my youth (I’m talking 9 to somewhere in my mid-twenties) was to spend an entire day in my bed with a pint of ice cream and a good book. With two kids and a house to run, it’s tricky to get away with a whole day, but lately, even a few hours here and there seems impossible.

My daughter has been extremely busy lately. She’s got a self-imposed craft calendar that rivals Martha Stewart’s and at the age of five and a half she’s already finding it impossible to go to bed because “there’s too much to do.”

I get that. The first night I told her to make a list. That’s what I do when the brain swirling starts at 3 am. I write down all the things I need to do. My list usually includes volunteer stuff at the school, grocery items, checks I have to write, adjusting the sprinklers, returning phone calls, clearing out my e-mail box… My daughter’s list included going downstairs to hide toys in the dryer. I don’t judge. More ridiculous things have kept me awake.

The list didn’t help Sadie the next night. Her brain was still spinning past ten and once she was asleep, my brain started spinning.

Was I making her this way? Was I modeling some kind of whirling homemaker? Where had I gone wrong?

I shared these concerns with a good friend who reminded me that Sadie is only half me. The other half is my husband who can fall asleep in about four seconds flat no matter how many things are on his “list.” (I’m actually not even sure he makes lists.) Half her genetic material belongs to a man who can cheerfully invite people over for take-out Chinese and not even take it out of the foil containers before it hits the table. She is not totally predetermined to be a freak like me. She has every opportunity to become a freak like herself.

To be safe, I’ve decided to work harder on not working hard. I think it’s good to model napping. It felt good to take a few hours out of today to be in my bed. I hope that one day I’ll find my daughter doing the same thing.

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