I stopped sleeping soundly when Owen was a baby. It turns out newborns don’t make a lot of noise. It takes a few weeks before they develop the lung power to jar you out of a deep sleep and get you on your feet. When I came home from the hospital with Owen, I was constantly worried I wouldn’t hear him if I was sleeping.

I was a mother. I had a baby. I quickly taught myself to sleep lightly. By the time he hit a month old, he had developed a good pair of lungs and later, you could hear him from anywhere in the house or on the property.

I never learned to sleep deeply after that. Owen is 52 and I’m still listening for the baby to cry. Apparently “turning on” light sleep is easy. Switching to real sleep is not easy. For me, it has been impossible.

Garry, on the other hand, worked all kinds of shifts because that’s the news. It happens when it happens. Garry was also the only reporter who lived walking distance from the studios. When there was a lot of snow and no one else could get there, Garry was the guy. I think that he also got called because his last name started with an “A.” When whoever was calling people in looked at the roster, Garry was on top.

Between one thing and another, I don’t think — except when we were on vacation and where a phone could ring (no cell phones yet), he never got a full night’s sleep.

He retired in 2001 and has been sleeping ever since. He is sleeping now. If I didn’t shake him away, I think he might sleep through dinner. Other people who worked in news seem to have a similar sleep pattern. Gone are the “Hurry up, we’re burning daylight” weekends. Things begin when everyone wakes up, has their coffee or tea, something to eat, takes a shower, dresses, etc. After which we may do something, but then again, we might not. We have all banished “hurrying” except for doctor appointments and anything for which we bought tickets.

Garry exercises every day at what ever time he gets up and finishes showering. It could be as early as noon or four in the afternoon. He never misses a day’s exercises, but when they occur whenever.

I envy that. I sleep later than I used to, but never much past mid-morning and that’s mostly because I get to bed late. I’m usually up late writing and processing photographs for the next day. Recently, I decided to try a new technique: writing during the day instead of the middle of the night. Every time I go to bed and haven’t written anything for tomorrow, I worry. I’m so accustomed to doing the next day’s posts in advance, it seems weird not doing them.

So, with all this sleeping late going on, do we feel we are “catching up” on all those years of missed sleep?

I asked Garry not long ago if he thinks we’ll ever make up for the years of missed sleep.

“No,” he said. “It’s permanent.” I think he’s right. It is permanent.

Categories: Anecdote, Blogging, Humor, News, night, sleep

Tags: , ,

7 replies

  1. Owen and I are close in age, I’m 51~I did not begin with that to make you feel old, but to note that my parents feel like they’re spending all their time trying to catch up, too. They are raising my disabled 26 year old niece and my twin and I have “kindly” said it’s time for us to take over soon. I have difficulty sleeping. Once I’m awake my mind does not want to shut off. I have several physical challenges that inhibit deep rest and I was always able to get by on 5-6 hours~mentally it’s much tougher since my brain injury. I’ve increased my magnesium and like you, I have to watch my iron intake (stomach AND too much at times). I enjoy your pictures! The subjects are cute. Take care!


  2. Ah fond memories of standing over my boys cot and watching him as he slept and then changing nappies, feeding, and all the fun stuff. Then they turn into teenagers and suddenly toddlers and infants don’t seem to be as trying. 🙂 I still check on him when he is sleeping which shows how strong this entire parent thing is.


    • The “parent thing” really does stick. It’s pretty funny listening for the baby when the baby has a 26-year-old daughter (aka, my granddaughter), but my body programmed my sleep habits and I’ve never been able to break the cycle. The kid (I guess he really isn’t a kid except to me) sleeps like the dead.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is strange at times as parents still worry about their kids, even as young adults, and these habits become conditioned to some degree. I think my son likes that I still check on him as it provides comfort to the kid to know they are still cared for as they encounter the world in all its glory and they know they have a safe haven.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m finding that since I became officially disabled (2013), I’ve slept less and less. I COULD sleep all day if I felt like it, I doubt Ziggy would complain (much). I get about 6-7 hours now and call that good enough. I used to sleep in whenever I got the chance (weekends off work, holidays, what have you), and I was teased about how much I slept. Maybe I was just storing up sleep, like that squirrel sunning him/herself on the branch, stores up nuts and fodder for the winter.

    Of course having chronic fatigue means I MIGHT sleep whenever I’m exhausted too. That’s very hard to schedule. 😉 Great post Marilyn and I hope you get ‘enough’ sleep!


    • I used to get by on anywhere from five to seven hours, but I can’t anymore. Age does catch up with you. You need more sleep because you tire easily. Also, since you aren’t running on adrenaline and have no schedule, so you don’t need to be awake — unless you want to be.

      I’m getting more sleep than I used to get but I doubt I’ll ever “catch up.” I’m not sure it’s possible. Whenever I tell my doctor I’m really tired, I get blood tests and sure enough, I’m anemic. I’ve been slightly anemic most of my life, so it’s no surprise, but apparently that lack of iron makes a big difference in energy level. Unfortunately iron makes my stomach turn into a giant knot, so I take the medication until the iron level bounces up and then I stop — until the next time. Also, iron is one of the minerals on which you can seriously overdose, so you have to be careful regardless.


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Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge



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