My husband was a napper. He could fall asleep on the beach, at a drive-in movie, even on the couch at my parent’s house after Sunday dinner.When he worked as a contractor, he’d sometimes come home from work in the early afternoon, not for lunch, but to take a nap. It used to drive me crazy!
“How can you possibly sleep in the middle of the day,” I would ask him, incredulous. “How can you sleep when the sun is out?” I struggled, even, to fall asleep at night. If something woke me up, no matter the time, that was the end of my night’s rest. There was no way I could sleep during the day, unless I hadn’t gone to bed until morning. That wasn’t napping, but just a skewed schedule.
Then, I started working the morning shift as a server. I had to be up at the crack of dawn, and I ran miles in that restaurant, delivering meals to the customers. If you’ve worked as a server, you know it involves a great deal of mental calisthenics as well as physical labor. Timing, memorization, organization and diplomacy all come into play, while hauling large trays full of heavy dishes back and forth from the kitchen.
My shift ended at 2 PM. My daughters remember that as soon as I got home, I’d put my feet up and say, “I want to just sit here and not smile for a while.” Sometimes, if they were at school, or away for the afternoon, I’d take a nap. By the time they were grown, and I could nap whenever I chose to, I had come to realize what a true pleasure it is.
From the time I was a small child, I’ve fought bedtime, and I’ve always had trouble falling asleep at night. There’s something frightening to me about giving in to sleep. Fear of death? I don’t know. But is has followed me through life.
Just after midday, though, when the afternoon sun streams in and warms the sofa, when the bright sun chases away any fears, when the background noise of TV or radio reassures…a nap is a treasure! More restful, often, than a whole night’s sleep, a nap renews and refreshes, and hands back the rest of the day with energy to spare.
My job these days doesn’t allow time for midday naps. I don’t get home from work until late in the afternoon. The dogs need a walk, then, and attention. I have to get to dinner, and chores, and other obligations. Now and then, though, when I have a day at home…when maybe I didn’t get a good night’s rest…and the sun is streaming in through the window…I’ll wrap an afghan around myself, and lay down for the rare indulgence of a nice afternoon nap. And what a pleasure it is!