June 6, 2014

Post Shavuot Blues

Sleep? I crave it and can’t seem to get enough. I admit that I am jet lagged, so during the daylight, I feel groggy, almost hung over; while at night, when everyone is tucked in and snoozing, a light pops in my brain and I transform into the Ever Ready Bunny.

Not good. No, no, no.

Last night, when I could not sleep, I watched a TED talk on the importance of sleep.  The discussion was fascinating and even left me feeling a bit drowsy. I was thrilled at being officially tired at 1 pm. What a concept! Imagining my cozy duvet and soft pillow, I was convinced that I would finally sleep.

There was a knock at the door and five of my older son’s friends walked in, put on the kettle and settled in on the couch. I ran down for a glass of water and another five boys walked in, friends of my younger son. They traipsed up to the TV area and settled in for a few rounds of Xbox.  The Xbox is outside my room and creates a lot of excitement.

Not good. No, no, no.

I did not want to shoo the boys away as my son is recovering from an accident and this was the most exciting event that had happened to him in days.  In fact, his ‘mishap’ enforced a lesson; sometimes, the more we want something, the more elusive it can be.

Like sleep, for instance.  

My husband and I had just returned from a trip abroad at 4 am the previous morning. Although it was still dark outside, the red winged blackbird that lives in the tree outside my bedroom window was already rustling his feathers and warming his chortle.

I fell into bed around 5 am, but did not fall into a deep sleep. At 8 am, I was jarred awake. Our daughter, on a short leave from the army, called. Of course we jumped out of bed, put on a coffee and gave her our full attention. After another coffee, I felt charged enough to unpack, do laundry, clean the house. 

By early afternoon we were both exhausted. My husband pulled down the blinds and announced he was going to sleep. I envisioned that cozy duvet and soft pillow. Dazed, I made my way upstairs and my cell phone rang.  It was my son.

“Hey. I had a surfing accident and they say I need stitches.”

“Forget the nap,” I hollered upstairs to my despairingly exhausted husband. “Sleep is not happening.”

Not good. No, no, no.

It was erev Shavuot in Israel and everyone was winding down. Cheesecakes were baking, stores were closing and offices where shutting down. This was not an ideal time for an emergency.

Not good. No, no, no.

He dashed away in the car.  I still had my eye on the pillow, even if it would bring me two or three winks of sleep. As soon as I closed my eyes, my daughter came in my room.

“I need a ride to a friend’s house. I have to be there soon.”

I rubbed my eyes and calculated that I had maybe shut my eyelids for 3 ½ seconds total. I grabbed the car keys and we took off. I was grumpy, discombobulated and had a short fuse. We got lost and made another wrong turn all with the help of a GPS.  My daughter panicked as I drove along like a delirious space cadet.

Not good. No, no, no.

She did finally arrive at her destination and I came home to a hop-along stitched-up son with barely time to light Yom Tov candles.

Forget sleep; we were entering Shavuot, the night when everyone stays awake all night long to learn Torah. I set my Torah goals low and my sleep goals high for that Shavuot.

Not good. No, no, no.

The more we want something, the more it evades us.  Think I will sit up with a slab of post-Shavuot cheesecake and watch another TED talk. Then I can listen to the red winged blackbird. We’re buddies now.

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