My day ends with a train whistle and the sigh of a dog.
I lie in my bed, said dog at my feet, both of us settling our weary bones into the comfort of no expectations, at least for the next few hours. Come sweet, blessed sleep. I hear the train and wonder where it is headed and if someone in its distant destination is sinking into bed just as I am at this moment.
The smell of lavender and currant fills the air, remnants of the bath just taken. If I’ve been very lucky, I was just moments ago listening to the soft crinkle of bubbles displaced as my toes stretched in the comfortingly warm water.
If I’ve been even luckier, my mind has quieted with the ritual of meditation, of dumping all worldly cares into the ether where they will be sucked away like so much chaff. I’ve thanked a higher power for all the blessings brought my way—yes, even the ones that don’t look like blessings.
Prior to this peace came the hubbub of a busy life. Practices, lessons, homework and a dinner shared with those I love. A glass of wine thrown in there somewhere. Sometimes a late conference call or two with Australian colleagues.
Perhaps a pillow-top conversation with my youngest, who likes to throw out meaty items at the last nanosecond as I tuck him in beneath a mountain of covers. Without fail, as I lean in to kiss him goodnight, I hear something along these lines, “Did you know that seven out of every 10 Americans believe in alien encounters?” or “I am still trying to determine if I think the Hindu religion is monotheistic or polytheistic.” If I have the energy (and I sure do try), a short conversation ensues. I realize these exchanges are short-lived in the long term. When he is grown with children of his own across town or country, I will wonder if his progeny inherited our wandering, quick minds. God, I hope so. I predict he will be answering the tough questions and smiling to himself, wondering where this rogue gene came from—and then sure it spawned from his odd duck mother.
If I have been able to quiet my quick mind, sleep comes quickly because I’ve likely stayed up too late again, trying to absorb every last second of precious time to myself.
If my mind is less than cooperative, I may end up next to the bed on my chaise with the book club selection, wondering how the other women seem to find time to read and make it to the get-together every month. If I do make it, I’ve likely paid for the time with lack of sleep. Every now and then, an insomniac friend will text to see if I, too, am having trouble sleeping. We then solve the world’s problems and our own in the wee hours of the morning, swearing to conquer poverty or illiteracy in our next midnight session.
I think of other days’ end. In my parents’ home, where someone else took care of me for so many years. Of my married life, where a warm body was next to mine and shared the burdens. Of nights when sleep eluded me for hours because of worry when life had gone topsy-turvy.
I am where I should be. In this bed, in this house, with this motley crew. And I see, as I look back, that every moment of worry was a wasted one. It may not stop future worry but it is something to chew on as I move forward.
My days are blessed. This revelation I hold close at the close of each and every one.
All is well at day’s end, as the slate is wiped clean for another brave attempt tomorrow.