Not Your Mother’s Yardstick

by Bella Rum

I didn’t go to yoga this morning. I did one of those things my mother nor mother-in-law would ever have done, or so says that voice in my head. I punked out. Those two women set the bar very high for their daughters and daughters-in-law.

We’re going down to stay with Dad for a couple of days so C can go to a wedding. As always, I had a plan because I can’t take two steps without a plan. When will I ever learn?

I was going to do my usual workout, go to yoga, return home,  make some of Dad’s favorite things, do laundry, pack, etc. My plan started to fall apart before the day even officially began. I spent two sleepless nights in a row, waking at 1:30 am yesterday and 3:00am this morning. It never once occurred to me to make it easier on myself by calling my friend and telling her I couldn’t make it to yoga today, and THEN it did. I called her and told her my story and she was all, “It’s okay! Don’t worry about it.”

She asked if the sleepless nights were a result of something that was bothering me. I told her it was nothing more than my usual, garden variety insomnia, but the truth is that I sometimes wake in the night with… I don’t exactly know how to describe it. I wouldn’t call it a panic attack. That’s too big, but there is anxiety or an unnameable fear or dread. Like something unmanageable is going to happen. And we all know how I like to manage everything.

I get out of bed, telling myself to knock it off, and I go to the bathroom. I try for sleep again. Sometimes I can go back to sleep. If I can’t find sleep, I fuss with the covers over H because it connects me to him, and that’s never a bad thing. Eventually I get up and go online or I listen to a book. The dark cloud eventually passes. Movement and distraction help. Lying still and struggling for sleep does not.

So I punked out on my best bud. The minute I got off the phone, I felt relief. Then I spent the next two or three hours making all of Dad’s favorite dishes. When a sharp pain stretched between my shoulder blades and I began, after hours of preparing food, to feel the strain of two sleepless nights, I thought of H’s mother and mine. I don’t recall them ever complaining. Fortunately, I’m not afflicted with that disorder. Even though I was all by my lonesome in my kitchen, I complained away, and I still managed to accomplish everything that needed accomplishing. I told them so. Then I took a nap.