My Good Egg

Posted: October 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Housewife Fashion Tips, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Mom, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Sleep, Travel | 4 Comments »

I’ve not always been the best bed mate.

Mark may not often admit that, the dear, unless you catch him on a morning when I’ve had what he refers to with restraint as “a particularly active night’s sleep.”

You see, he’s a light-as-a-feather sleeper. And I could slumber heavily alongside a train track. I’m a deep deep sleeper who’s also on the move, stretching, flopping over then back like a fish, pedaling an imaginary bike, or curling fetally into what Mark calls my “comma position.”

I do sleep as a high-impact sport.

Mornings, the volume of my hair snarl and the intensity of Mark’s bloodshot eyes are the indicators of  just how fervidly I’ve thrashed through the night. Usually without ever pulling out of my corpse-like slumber.

I am not a night-time tinkler. (In fact, I hold mortals who speak of “getting up at night to pee” in mild to moderate disdain.) Before kids became part of our traveling show, I’d fall asleep on planes prior to take-off, and be nudged awake before landing by flight attendants insisting I “return my seat to the full upright position.” At the dramatic height of a movie or TV show, I could suddenly nod my head, let my jaw hang lax, and conk out cold.

Sleep is my super power.

Of course, I’ve been pregnant twice too. So Mark’s also suffered through months of me engaged in nighttime aerobics, but wielding a large inner baby and scads of assorted pillows I’d pack around myself like I was some fragile teapot being sent through the mail.

I suddenly discovered what it was like to wake up in the night, uncomfortable with a hip that seemed it was being crushed in a vice. Add to that, I was having to pee. (Me!) My pillows were my desperate effort to defend my long-cherished run of failure-proof sleep. They were my mental and physical support. Like a full-body nighttime bra.

Yet even they failed me. Because whenever I rolled over I’d need to reconfigure the innumerable group of them on the new side.

As if that weren’t bad enough, once I’d finally get settled the skin on the soles of my feet would feel dry. (My own personal crazy-lady pregnancy thing.) So I’d reach to my bedside table for lotion, sweeping my glasses to the floor, clanging my glass of water, and ultimately, upsetting my strategic pillow array. Waah!

Poor Mark. A frat boy after a night celebrating his 21st birthday couldn’t sleep through that.

Often, understandably, Mark would give up and schlep to the couch. And as long as his pillow and blanket were gone by daybreak, so friends or house cleaners wouldn’t question the health of our marriage, I was admittedly happy to be alone. Doing snow angels in the sheets with my immense baby-filled body. Not worrying about moving too much and keeping Mark up, I’d fall asleep nearly instantly.

Alas, it’s likely Mark’s days of pregnancy-induced couch sleeping are over. (Sniff!). But this week I’ve had a cold. I NEVER get sick. My take on colds is akin to the mortal weakness of night peeing.

And Mark’s been so horribly busy at work. At night he gets to crawl into bed with me sniffling, snorfling, coughing, and worst—doing the Bruno triple throat clear. From my lump on the left sife of the bed I radiate germs and self-pity like rays from the sun. And my already unsexy cadre of nighttime attire has bottomed out with the cold-weather return of my flannel Lanz of Salzburg granny gown.

Let’s just say I’m no Betty Draper.

But through it all Mark’s been the attentive tough-love nurse. “Have you even taken zinc? Or Vitamin C?” he’ll ask, then sigh, trundle off, and return with a handful of pills and a tall glass of water.

This morning he delivered a cold pill and some decongestant or other before I even got out of bed. I mean, at least that’s what he SAID he was giving me.

But seriously, if you haven’t met my husband, let me tell you. He’s a good egg.

When the girls were wee babes and I was getting up a lot at night to nurse, since Mark holds the title of World Featherweight Sleeper, he’d be up too. In fact, he’d be the one shaking me to consciousness when the monitor was blaring baby cries and crackling static at Volume 11, right at my ear.

“Uh, honey? Kristen? The baby is up.” And I’d've been on such another stratosphere of deep sleep I’d walk heavy-legged and dull-faced down the hall towards the crying.

But when I got back into bed, without fail, he’d have fluffed my pillows.

I know it seems like a small thing. But it was such a sweet act of I-wish-I-had-boobies-and-could-help-out-more kindness. If I weren’t so damn tired, I’d have taken his face in my hands, planted a big smooch on his forehead, and blubbered happy words of appreciation.

Turns out having one’s head drift down into two perfectly fluffed pillows is an exceptional simple pleasure. Especially when you’re months into no more than three or four hours of sleep at a stretch.

And another thing about that man, because I’m on a roll now. When he’s cooking? And cutting up carrots for something? He chops off a little nubbin of one and brings it over to me wherever I am. You know, like where I’m setting the table, or digging in the bottom of the closet for my other clog.

I don’t even remember how it is that I told him about this, but the reason he does it is it’s something my mother would do. She spent 70% of my childhood cutting up raw vegetables to set in front of me. Or handing me a piece of celery off the cutting board, before dumping the rest into a pot.

Speaking of her, I had that phone thing happen today. The thing people talk about when someone close to them dies—still getting the impulse to pick up the phone and call the person, then having the realization that you can’t.

Google really should work on that.

Anyway, what’s weird is that it’s been ages, like, over five years, since mom and I have had one of our meandering, sometimes only mildly-interesting daily phone calls. So I’ve been over that phone call habit for a while now. Or so I thought, at least.

But earlier tonight, after Kate’s dance performance and before dinnertime, I was tired. I’d been on Mama duty all day, with a ragged voice, goopy cough, mounting headache, and two young unsympathetic charges. I was summoning my last bits of patience and energy to get a bare-bones frozen ravioli and salad dinner on the table.

I was cutting up carrots to steam—’cause it turns out my mother’s veggie-pushing got passed down in the genes—and as I turned on the oven to warm some bread, it started. Not that I thought I wanted to call her per se. It’s more that this string of thoughts about feeling worn out, and the girls arguing over books in the other room, and it starting to get really cold at night here now that it’s fall—this series of thoughts I was running through in my head were things that were somehow sort of customized for her. The kinds of things I’d be telling my mother if I could.

And then that one part of your brain that can be sitting back when another part is doing something else, it prompted me with the thought, “Hey, seems like you want to be calling your mother right now.”

Which had the potential to take me to the brink of feeling far worse about the state of things than I already felt. I mean, feeling sick and tired is one thing. But the dead mother trump emotional card always beats out everything else.

But blessedly, before I could even go there, the lock on the door clicked in that barely audible way it does when Mark comes home. And Kate sprang off the couch with an amped-up need to tell a story, and Paige, from her spot on the floor stretched out her arms for her tragic pick-me-up-you-don’t-KNOW-how-much i-missed-you act.

In a snap, that little door click redistributed all the energy in the house. And when the door swung open, it was like all the thoughts swirling around in my head got sucked outside in the back draft.

Sometimes that man has just got perfect timing.


4 Comments on “My Good Egg”

  1. 1 Drea said at 6:09 pm on October 12th, 2009:


    What a sweetie!!!

  2. 2 Dad said at 7:12 am on October 14th, 2009:

    Your recent blog entry “Good Egg” was so great and warm and loving of your
    husband, your children and your mother….It is by far the best entry you
    have made..the writing style perfect! The frank statement of love for your
    husband-beautiful ,and the great love between mother and daughter which you
    write of..the greatest honor a daughter could pay her mother. As your dad, I
    am so pleased that you have such a beautiful family and such a good husband.
    If you ever feel lonely, or down or have a secret to tell someone, put me on
    the call list. I would love that, all my love to you guys, Dad

  3. 3 kristen said at 1:21 pm on October 15th, 2009:

    aw, dad.

  4. 4 Brooke said at 7:33 pm on October 17th, 2009:

    I have the same thing happen to me with the mom phone call thing and its been 11 years! I always thought I was the only one out there and now I know I have at least one friend….

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