Dearly Beloved is bleary eyed today. He says that the Bonnie the snoring cocker spaniel and I kept him awake all night. He’ll just have to live with it–even if he can’t sleep with it–because I am way too neurotic to ever spend time in a sleep clinic. (Note to self: perhaps some Valentine earplugs for my bedmate?)
It has occurred to me that I have some very strange sleep habits which go back to childhood. I was a pretty quiet kid and did not mind being alone. What did trouble me was all those celestial beings which, according to my Sunday School teachers, hung around my room at night.
It didn’t help to start my bedtime ritual with a prayer, not that I wouldn’t die, but that God would snatch my soul if I did. Had to breathe loudly so He’d know I was still alive.
Jesus always by my side? Jesus, don’t watch me sleep! Just sit out on the porch and I’ll call if I need you! I kept the covers pulled up to my neck in case his robe accidentally brushed up against me.
Guardian angels? I’d occasionally find a feather near my pillow in the morning. They could have come from the pillow itself, but then again. . . .Oh, polyester, how I needed you then! My arms never ventured from beneath the sheets, but my hands were up around my face, ready to swat away anything feathery or ticklish. When I couldn’t sleep I had a flashlight and book for reading under the covers. Wouldn’t want to turn on a light, just in case they forgot to assume their invisble state.
Lullabies? Oh, good grief, talk about sending a child over the edge! Who ever thought it was comforting to croon to a little one about falling out of a tree with a cradle crashing atop her? That Mother WAS a Goose!
The Hansel and Gretel opera was the stuff of nightmares. The story itself was terrifying. The music was pretty, but a lullaby telling me a whole darned flock of angels hovered nearby. . ? Holy cow! I had a small room! Who could sleep with all that fluttering?
When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep;
Two my head are guarding,
Two my feet are guiding;
Two are on my right hand,
Two are on my left hand,
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover,
Two to whom ’tis given
To guide my steps to heaven.
– Engelbert Humperdinck
Two little kids whose mother threw them out of the house into the woods might have appreciated that, but even if there were only half that many fliers–I was figuring that fourteen number was for two kids–that was still way too much activity around my bed. Whenever I was desperate enough that I had to go to the bathroom, I made plenty of noise so they’d know to give me a clear path.
So yes, I still sleep with the covers up to my neck. My arms are covered, but my hands frequently end up somewhere near my face, perhaps in subconscious swat-readiness.
Dearly Beloved has his own sleep mode. When we first married he took up most of the bed in a cover-shunning diagonal sprawl. Now he lies perfectly straight, flat on his back, covers up, arms folded neatly across his chest. A daisy between his fingers would make it look like he’d been letting an undertaker practice on him.
When I crawl into bed, however, both of us immediately shift into spooning position. I pull the covers up around our shoulders, just right. Have to. . . ! With two of us, that puts us back to fourteen of them. Is he certain that’s snoring he hears? Maybe it’s the sound of 28 wings flapping around the bed.
I feel that there is an angel inside me whom I am constantly shocking. ~Jean Cocteau