4 a.m. and Wide Awake

When we were kids, our parents would put us to bed at nine p.m. and we would do as we were told to do, go to bed.  Sometimes we had a flashlight under the covers so we could read our favorite book a little longer or play the game we still haven’t beaten to the end.  All without the knowledge of our parents of course.  Normally we would fall asleep before 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. so we had plenty of sleep for the next day.  As a parent, you sometimes look back thinking you put the kids to bed, so they were not as cranky in the morning for school, but in the back of your mind you also knew that was time for you.  All was quiet in the house, and you could get the last load of laundry in or watch your favorite television show without any interruptions. It was your time to relax finally from a long day.

As adults in 2016, we look at a different world than our parents.  Our parents worked hard, and they did much more manual labor than we do now.  I remember mom out working the fields with my dad, after putting in a 40 hour week at the factory.  She would mow the yard, pull all the weeds in the garden and tend to the animals when dad was farming, so he could come home and go to bed.  Those were 12 and 14 hour days for both of them when it was the season to plant and harvest the crops. Now, most farm wives no longer work in the fields because the farmer hires a high school student to help in the fields or to feed and milk the cows.  The wife takes care of the children and the house after she gets home from work and makes sure everyone is fed.

“Everyone is fed” …another concept that has changed, dinner time.  When I was a kid growing up, there were no frozen chicken filets in the freezer, TV dinners or frozen vegetables from Green Giant. Hot dogs were not cooked in a microwave for a meal and the thought of putting a salad on the table for the main course was unheard of.  We had beef in the freezer and we had frozen vegetables, or canned them the prior year at harvest.  Sunday dinner was a time we all sat at the table and mom made fried chicken or a pot roast with some kind of potato, a vegetable and frequently a cake was iced and ready for dessert. Another fact, there were no electronics at the table.  We talked, sometimes received our orders what had to be done yet that day by dad but, we talked as a family.

I don’t ever remember my parents up at 4:00 a.m. not able to sleep.  Are we a society so full of things going on we can’t shut down our brains long enough to sleep a full seven hours?   I am terrible about tossing and turning at night when I have a lot of things going on and I am trying to figure out what I need to do the next day,  organizing myself while I am supposed to be sleeping.  I see other friends on the social media sites complaining it is 4 a.m. and they are up, can’t sleep.  I don’t remember my parents ever taking Aleve p.m., Melatonin, or anything to help them sleep.  They just slept.  As a society how have we changed so much we can just sleep?

So here I sit at 4 a.m. with my dog laying on his bed looking at me wondering why I am up at this odd hour.  Not sure if he is wondering when I am going to bed and shutting off the lights so he can sleep again. LOL, which is probably the case.  In fact, in the time I have written this piece I can hear him softly snoring, so I know he has fallen asleep, even with the kitchen light on and me sitting at the kitchen island with my laptop.

Maybe we need to turn the television off, put the cellphones in the drawer and listen to the experts who tell us to move the electronics as far from the bedroom as we can and sleep in a dark room, leaving your work and day stress behind you as you lay your head on the pillow.  It sounds so much easier than it really is but, in the end, when we sleep we don’t worry, we don’t stress over deadlines needing to be met or a pending book publication.  We sleep.

Have a good day, and a good night.






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