Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goodbye, Old Friend

I’ve been visited by an old friend this week. This friend has been in my life for many years, usually showing up during trying times: final exams, family traumas, breakups, most of law school. And this friend stayed with me for almost the entire eleven months of my husband’s last deployment. This friend even caused me to have a wreck—my first wreck—on Mother’s Day of last year. In fact, any time this visitor comes around, whatever difficult situation I’m dealing with tends to get much worse. I guess you could say we have a love-hate relationship: She loves to visit and I hate the chaos she leaves in her path. You know, maybe she's really not worthy of the title “friend” after all. Nemesis. Yeah, that’s more like it. She's intrusive and rude and stubborn, definitely nemesis-like. This old friend/nemesis is Insomnia. And, yep, she’s ba-ack.

I’ve never been a very good sleeper (whatever that means). The slightest sound will wake me, potentially causing me to toss and turn all night. And stress, well…consider it a personal invitation for Insomnia to come on over, and stay a while. But, why is this annoying house guest visiting now? I know that I’m worried about finding a job. Worried that this cross-country move will land me in eternal career purgatory (or worse for an attorney: personal injury work). But, it doesn’t feel like that’s what’s keeping me up at night, all night, every night. We’ve also had some hurdles in our family recently—namely the financial burden of selling our home in this awful market—but, nothing that we haven’t worked through. Besides, money issues have never been enough to beckon Insomnia to my door. I've always known that money can and will work itself out. So, why is she here now?

I understood why Insomnia stuck around while my hubby was in Iraq. I was worried all the time: waiting for the phone to ring or the instant messenger to buzz; dreading a knock on the door. And worry, of course, is what Insomnia feeds on. And, I have to admit, she was very well fed back then. I tried to get Insomnia to leave, shooing her away with lavender scented pillows and classical music, even resorting to sleeping aids to push her out the door. But, she wouldn’t budge. So, eventually, I accepted the fact that she wasn’t going anywhere. Defeated, we would pass the hours together writing letters, eating unhealthy midnight snacks, and watching even unhealthier reality TV. Yep, I knew she’d be there for a while, at least until he got home safely and could finally reclaim his side of the bed, pushing Insomnia out once and for all. And it worked…until recently.

So, why now? He’s been home for six months. We’ve made it through the harsh readjustment phase (or, at least, I'd like to think we've made it through the roughest portion of it). We’ve navigated and accepted the changes that we have both undergone. We've talked through the hurt we've both endured in the past year. We’re laughing again, sneaking constant kisses again, finally together again. Everything is good. Well, except for the undeniable fact that we don’t know where our next duty station will be, where we will be next year, and if and when his next deployment will be. And maybe that’s just it. Maybe Insomnia is here waiting for that other shoe to fall—the one that will send him back out the door and leave me here to eat Reese’s peanut butter cups and watch The Real Housewives of Anywhere…with her.

Well, Insomnia, that's a clever plan, but I'm not going to let you stay here. Not this time. My husband is in the next room, safe and sound, asleep in our bed. Our daughter is dreaming peacefully, too. We are still in transition, still unsure of what tomorrow holds. But, for now, we are all OK. We are all healthy, happy, and safe. And really, that's all that matters. So, you see, you’re not needed here. Not now, and hopefully never again. Maybe you should find a law student to pester, eh?

So, I'm sorry, Insomnia, but it's time for you to leave. I’m going to close my laptop, politely escort you out the door, and get under the covers with my husband. He's so much more interesting than the Real Housewives, and a much better companion than you've ever been.

Goodbye, old friend. Sweet dreams.

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