“Hour gongs were being struck all across the city and night watchman were proclaiming that it was indeed midnight and also that, in the face of all the evidence, all is well. Many of them got as far as the end of the sentence before getting mugged.” — Terry Pratchett
Waking from another long sleepless night. My husband still out-of-town and I am the official person in charge of the family. My new title as ‘night-watchwoman’ has been a challenge. I am happy to say the family has been sleeping soundly every night since my husband’s departure. I, however, cannot say the same thing. As a matter of fact, sleep is something that I have not had any of for the last few days.
When my husband is not here, things go pretty much the same during the day. I get the kids up for school, get breakfast, drive the big boys to school and spend the day with the little guy. The afternoon is more of the same thing: pick up the big boys, help with snack, nag, whine, help with homework and start dinner. See. Pretty much the same everyday. And we seem to manage pretty well.
But something happens at around 6:00pm. A small alarm clock goes off in my head and my body begins to break down. This is usually the time my husband comes home, but for the last few nights has not been the case. This nightly time is normally when my husband and I switch shifts. He takes over the evening shift, and I step back. Now mind you, I am still in the picture, but not as much when it comes to the kids.
“Mom, can you help me with my math homework?” – Tall Boy
“Not right now son, I am reading a magazine. Go ask your Dad.” – Mom
“Momma, will you play ‘Buzz and Woody’ with me?” – Little Boy
“Sorry sweetie, but I am starting dinner. But Daddy loves to play B and W with you. Go ask him.” – Mom
“Mom, do you want to go for a walk with me and the dog?” – Old Boy
“Maybe tomorrow son. Right now I need to fold the laundry. I am sure Dad would love to go with you though.” – Mom
Yes, every night the hubby takes over the evening shift and the world is saved. I usually, do not tell people how I am not coping very well without hubby, because frankly I look like a big, old wimp. Okay, I am a wimp. A sad but true fact.
The hardest part of the evening work without my husband is bedtime. It is not hard to get everyone to go to bed, yelling and screaming seem to do the trick, but it is when everyone is in bed. I then must become the ‘night-watchwoman’. This is a difficult job for me, for lots of reasons. And a job I do not really like.
The lights go out, doors get locked, dog is checked, kids are checked, dishwasher is turned on and then off to my room. I try to read for a bit, but find myself too tired to read, so lights out. However, once the lights go out, I suddenly feel wide awake. When the lights are off and the house is dark and quiet, I suddenly realize I have started the night-watchwoman shift.
I lay in my bed, alone and start to hear things. This is very hard to do because I am hearing impaired and I do not hear very well at all without my hearing aids on. What really happens is I think I hear things and I start to panic. I soon start to see shadows too. This is also hard because I do not see well without my glasses on, so I begin to ‘think’ I see things, but really don’t.
So I lay in bed, thinking I am hearing and seeing things, neither of which I can really do without the assistance of my glasses and hearing aids. I know I am not the best person for the nightly security shift. I mean, if someone breaks into the home, I will not be able to hear or see them. Thus providing no protection for my little family. This is why, I do not sleep well without the husband. I miss him, but he is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the night and it allows me to sleep soundly.
After a long while of staring at the ceiling, my body relaxes and I fall asleep. It is only a temporary state as I soon awaken later in a panic. I jump out of bed to check on everyone, as a good night-watchwoman does, and settle back to bed. The entire procedure repeats itself over and over until about 4:00 am and then I must decided to wake up for good or try one last time to sleep. Waking up usually wins.
But the tonight hubby returns home. I will be happy to see my friend and even more happy to allow him to reclaim his nightly duties. I will once again enjoy the evenings with someone to talk to, someone who assists me, but most of all someone to take over as the night-watchman.