And the other half of the instruction is : early to bed. We were discussing this last night, as we went lights out at 8:30.
Parenthetical note: we are ONLY able to do that because our kids are older, capable, and cooperative. Alicia Ann, who is 10 almost 11, is in the fifth grade, her last year of elementary school; she has to get on the bus at 7 AM, so she has a bedtime of 8:30 PM, and gets up at 6:30 AM, or 6-ish if she wants to so something lovely to her hair. Kenneth, age 12, is a 6th grade middle schooler, and they start the school day later. He gets on the bus at 8:30 AM, and so his bed time is 9 PM. They are both responsible enough that they put themselves to bed on their own, after appropriate earlier kisses. They understand Mom has to hit the bricks early.We were comparing our current 8:30-ish bed time with the life we lived as young stupids. Back then, the night hadn't even started at 9:00 PM, and it was REQUIRED by the code of the stupid young to continue our revelry AT LEAST until 1 AM, with 3 AM being a more usual ending point, followed by a trip to the Waffle House.
Alas (or fortunately), those days are LONG gone. While Vanessa hasn't achieved my length of years, we WERE born in the same decade (you can do the math on your own), and our bodies need sleep. Our routine is to go to bed at the same time, and she drifts off first, and I read or watch something on Netflix for a while, then put on Dragnet at the Internet Archive, and let Jack Webb's monotone lull me into Dreamland.
Vanessa doesn't have Dragnet. She has me. She turns her electric blanket on, and we snuggle, and I wrap my arms around her, and we tell each other how much we love each other and appreciate each other, and usually, she starts to snore (softly, and in a very lady-like way) in just a few minutes. When we were first married, and were in the process of establishing our routine, she'd ask me to tell her a story. It was always about a little girl who grew up to be a beautiful lady, in a cottage in the woods, and the handsome young man who came to rescue her and seek her hand in marriage.
Yeah, it's corny. But look: we found each other late in life. We went straight to romance, and stayed there, because we've already both DONE all the miserable we needed. My best friend from high school, Billy Doniel, has named his retirement farm "Best For Last", and Vanessa SQUEALED when she found that out; that's pretty much the theme of our relationship. Based on my family history, I've got AT LEAST 20 years of good health before my brain turns to mush, and we are determined to make our latter years better than the former; best for last. "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be."
So, last night, we turned out the light, and we snuggled close with her in my arms, and she said "Were you always this sweet?" or words to that effect.
And I got to thinking, and I tried to be precise in my words, as I was in my thoughts. What kind of man was I at 19, or 35? Certainly there have been enormous (and I use the word advisedly) physical changes. To be specific, I weigh almost twice what I did then, and I am no longer lithe nor limber. Has that contributed to my sweetness? I have learned so much about being a giver, instead of a taker.
And as I was sharing these deep thoughts from my heart, pouring out my soul to her, I slowly became aware that it had been a while since she had said anything.
And then I realized:
SHE HAD ME MONOLOGUING!
SHE HAD DONE IT ON PURPOSE!
Yes, that sweet woman of mine, that precious treasure, that DECEITFUL WENCH, has purposefully set me off on one of my long, intense, (boring?) rambles,
JUST SO SHE COULD GET TO SLEEP!
Oh, the horror.
"You did that on purpose! You set me off on this intense introspection, just so I would talk long enough so you could get to sleep!"
And she cracked up. Because it was TRUE!
"Next time, why don't you just ask me to recite the technical specification of my motorcycle?" (hysterical laughter)
"Why not just have me sing The Alphabet song?"
(chortle, cackle, guffaw)
She didn't even TRY to defend or deny. And the only way I could get her to stop shrieking with laughter was to remind her that our young lady guest was sleeping in the bedroom right underneath ours, and what MUST she be thinking hearing the noises coming through her ceiling?
But it still took her a while. She had to progress down to giggle, snicker, and titter before she could finally drift off again. Because I was not ABOUT to tell her another bedtime story!
Sigh. I will tonight, though. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things; including the knowledge that the old lady can play me like a two dollar harmonica.
Be at peace, and wear RED today if you can. RED = Remember Everyone Deployed, until they all come home.