It's 2:00 a.m. and the text alert on my cellphone has started to play. Since I am dog/house sitting, it takes me a few moments to remember where I left my phone last night. I reach for the phone with one hand and try to wake my eyes up with a rub from the other. It's a text from Trent. You awake? it asks. We have been married for thirteen years and I could just be completely honest, but I answer with a touch of kindness. Just dozing a bit, you? Obviously, I already know the answer to that question, but this reply gives him an opportunity to let me know that he has been having trouble sleeping while I am away. Me too.
When we first got married, I swore that all he had to do to get some sleep was to wake me up to tell me he wasn't able to fall asleep. As soon as I awoke and started to remember things that I could worry about, he slipped into a coma-like state. Then I would get aggravated and spend the next hour or so trying to fall asleep again. Then again, when we first got married, nearly every morning he complained about my snoring. He would tell me how atrocious or obnoxious or frightening my snoring was. He would tell me that there was something wrong with me because it sounded like I would quit breathing. Every so often this would get me riled up enough that I would offer to let him spend the night on the sofa so that he could sleep more peacefully. He always declined.
As time went on, his complaints about my sleeping symphonies grew less frequent, and in fact, went away. I asked him occasionally if I was snoring less since I had lost a bit of weight. "I haven't been hearing you as much lately," he'd say, "so you must be snoring less." And then came a night when either he was gone or I was gone. I can't fall asleep. I miss you honey. I offered him some advice on how to get to sleep, things like a nice hot bath or a cup of Sleepytime tea. The next day we would both stumble around, tired from our lack of rest the night before.
About a year ago, when I returned home after spending several days taking care of my friends' dog, the truth unexpectedly came out. Yes, we were both lonely and missing each other, and this impacted our ability to sleep. But Trent finally had to admit that there was more to it than that for him. After all of those initial complaints, he had become used to my snoring. Now he had trouble falling asleep without it. What had started out as an aggravation had turned into a lullaby of sorts for him. When he heard me snoring, he knew that we were together and safe and was able to rest knowing that our love was still strong. My formerly detested noises had become a part of the background of his nights, and its absence was deafening.
When I go home in a few nights, my husband will get a better night's sleep. He doesn't need a sound machine for white noise; I will be there to provide the white noise for him. And if he can miss my snoring, I guess we'll be okay. I think in the meantime I'll try to take a little nap. You never know what 2 a.m. will bring.