December 24, 2008


I watch you as you sleep
I'm jealous of the night
I'd steal you from your dreams
Just to buy more time

Yes, it's true: I heard a Michael Bolton song today at work and it made me think of my husband.

When your spouse is gone, it is easy to romanticize everything. We're the greatest couple that ever existed and we never fight and life is always flowers and sausages. And then he comes home, and you realize you had forgotten the little things that have bugged you for seven years of marriage.

My husband is a sleeper. He loves sleep. He is a soldier; he can sleep anywhere: in the hard metal chair of a tank, on top of a tank with no pillow, sitting straight up, in the middle of a conversation, anywhere.

I am an insomniac who only sleeps because it's biologically necessary.

How on earth did I completely forget this about us?

He came home, and I started talking. And wouldn't stop. So he just fell asleep while I was talking. Not exactly what I had envisioned. So he decided to sneak in his sleep at other times, like in the middle of a movie or TV show. I DVRed seven months of our favorite shows and couldn't wait to watch them together, and he is falling asleep during them.

His sleeping is driving me nuts.

I couldn't wait for him to come home so I could be with him. And I know he's not doing it on purpose, but it feels like he is choosing sleep over me. And since I hate sleep, I cannot fathom why someone would do that. So I get grumpy and frustrated.

Mostly I am just baffled at why I thought he would come home and want to stay up for hours talking to me. He never was like that before, but somehow that's what I imagined when I thought of our homecoming. He wants to sleep, and I want him to want to be with me enough that he doesn't want to sleep.

And yeah, I know, "at war" and all. But I cracked up when I read Sis B's post because it made sense to me. This time around, my husband got plenty of sleep at war. This isn't a catching-up-on-seven-months thing; this is just who he normally is.

I just somehow had forgotten it. And it's hurting my feelings. Which is dumb.

I have felt gyped so far with our time though. His commander gave him a project to work on that was supposed to be done by Christmas. Well, they came home three days later than expected, so that meant that he had to use his long weekend and our first few days together to sit at a computer and work for six hours a day. So he gets done and just wants to eat and then sleep. And I keep wondering when it is that we're supposed to get to be together. I am resentful that we spent seven months apart and then he has to hole himself up in the computer room while I sit and knit alone.

I'm tired of being alone. I'm tired of sleeping. I'm tired of making foam pirate ships instead of being with him.
I'm ready for togetherness.

Posted by Sarah at December 24, 2008 03:38 PM | TrackBack

Sweetie, let me attempt to shed some light here:
1. Tankers are solar powered. Sun goes down, we go to bed.
2. Sleep is a learned response to stress. Likely he is using the same coping mechanism felt in theater to deal with new, unrealized stressors--like reunification.
3. Sleep can also be a learned response to healing emotional trauma--like PTSD
4. His biological clock is going to take more than a few days to adjust to the time difference.
5. After combat, life can be pretty damned dull.
6. likely he is incredibly comfortable and safe at home--he knows there's no incoming mortars, no IEDs, no QRF call outs, no emergency meetings. Watch him in the car--odds are he'll change lanes for trash on the side of the road, and lean towards the middle of the car. Hell, I still do that.
7. Sometimes, husbands get so good at tuning out the babble from our wives that we just doze off. I'm guilty of that.
8. His physiological sleep deficit is huge. Obviously, he can't make up for all the sleep he's lost over the past year, but mentally, he's thinking "When I get home, I'm going to sleep for a year!"
9. You could secretly switch him to decaf for a week, then start brewing espresso.
10. Another option: look into "pri9vate island" vacations. For relatively cheap, you get dropped off on an island with food, water, shelter, and each other. Nothing to do but spend time together, no distractions, and it helps him re-focus on you.
11. Or you could be like Carren, and bitch and nag every time I doze off, then scamper away yourself for a nap.
12. If all else fails, buy a remote dog shock-collar, and zap the sleep behavior out of him.

Posted by: Chuck at December 25, 2008 09:40 AM

Sara you crack me up and I can definitely emphathise. Whenever mine goes TDY for any reason I aways forget all the ticks that make me twitch ... than they all come crashing back and ruin the romanticzed memory in my head :)

Posted by: Darla at December 26, 2008 03:00 PM