There are mornings (many mornings) when I have slept a full eight hours (or nine, or ten…), yet I awaken tired and sleep-deprived. Some sound awakens me. In the past, always the voice on the radio. Howard. Bob Edwards. Traffic report. Weather forecast. The glow of the numbers warning me that I’m going to be late. Again.
Now, it is usually a squawk from down the hall. An urgent screech, occasionally full-blown, panicked crying. In the event of the latter, I find myself falling out of bed without grabbing my glasses, tripping down the hallway, feeling the shock of our icy, laminate floor.
Nine out of ten times her eyes are closed despite the noise. She is asleep…
I have had nightmares as long as I can remember. When they are not nightmares, they are still vivid, active dreams that stretch on for hours and hours. The shock of the awakening sound generally leaves me disoriented for a few minutes. I feel transported to the current moment and I am jet lagged from the time travel. On the worst mornings, the radio (never the child, I simply cannot sleep through the child), penetrates my subconscious. I can see everything the voice is describing play in front of me in live action. When I awakened to Howard Stern this could sometimes be amusing. When I have awakened to stories of Katrina or Iraq, it’s not so much.
There have been brief periods when the dreams have stopped, and I have slept peacefully. Contrary to what one would expect, this has happened when I have been my most depressed, not my happiest; as though my brain was too fatigued to take me on an adventure, not even a scary one…
During my pregnancy I began to moan and sigh in my sleep, seemingly with every exhalation. My voice would awaken me constantly throughout each night, Garrett, too. This went away after I gave birth, I am not certain why it came, nor why it went.
While we were still recuperating in the hospital, I heard Lyra sigh for the first time in her sleep. When she came home, she continued this soft sighing, somewhat sing-songy, but endearingly sweet. As the months have gone on, that sigh has mutated into a groan. She often uses the humming groan to soothe-talk herself to sleep. You can hear it fade out as the sleep overcomes her.
In the past month, that groan has increasingly begun to emerge not only when she is falling asleep, but when she is dead asleep. She spends hours at night squawking, shouting out, and droning steady vowels sound. Each sound awakens me, quickens my heart, and melts away my coveted minutes of sleep.
I am not certain why she does this, if it’s permanent, or what it means. I only know that she is most likely dreaming, and probably having nightmares. My baby, six-months-old and already haunted by the hard work of making sense of this world. I don’t envy her job. I don’t envy the years she has ahead of her filled with many a scary a night, many a restless morning where she wil awaken tired from dreaming.
But I do empathize. I do.
Hello darkness, my old friend.