Friday, December 17, 2010


When I was growing up, my mother used to have terrible insomnia. She would spend hours in the kindle of he journal awake, but she made good use of her time at least. We would often wake to freshly baked cobblers, cinnamon rolls, or tarts for breakfast, or bread just coming out of Tue oven to be gathered would a thick helping of butter and homemade jam. You could say that baking has pervaded my senses from a very young age, as the scents intertwined their way through my dreams as well as spirit. I have fond memories of waking up to these scents from the oven of my childhood. When she wasn't baking, she painted, drew, or worked metal; whatever medium she happened to be involved in at the moment. I suppose it was how she dealt with being unable to quiet her mind when most others were ensconced in slumber.

I rarely knew what it was like (the inability to sleep when every other signal around me said I should be) until I had children. As is often the case with the young or college bound, I stretched my wakeful hours into those nocturnal times readily; paying for it the following evening when the wall of sleep would hit me head on. Little did I understand the restlessness and frustration I would encounter when I didn't have the goal of a paper to finish or a game among friends to greet the sun with.

I first brushed up against this wakefulness when I was pregnant with my daughter. My belly round, I lay in bed thinking of who she would be, and how to be a good parent to her. The books and websites I read all said to treat insomnia as a sick child: stay in bed at all costs, sleep will come to your tired body eventually if you remain there. So I followed their advice. Tossing and turning as my growing family slumbers blissfully unaware. My mind turning, drawing, writing letters, stretching, baking, balancing. For five years I have lain here randomly awake (as the sleeplessness strikes erratically) and eventually slipping back into sleep with my loved ones surrounding me. Tonight I wonder if I had it all wrong. There is a certain utility to actually getting up and being productive without the inevitable interruptions that small children bring. And the peacefullness of the early morning is soothing. So to still my mind this early day, I instead chose to get up and look out at the falling snow and write out these errant thoughts while they were freshly baking. And now that they are done, I shall go back to bed. You see, I am truly my mothers daughter, but not so entirely that I cannot learn from her mistakes. Goodnight.