Right after Serenity was born, I became a very light sleeper. Any disturbance in The Force was enough to wake me, have me checking on her and the house then trying to go back to sleep. I often found that nearly impossible to do. It is almost like my brain was on high-alert and it just couldn’t settle back down after having been jarred awake. Over the years this persisted and I just thought it was part of being a Mom.
I used to get so aggravated that Bubba could sleep through anything. I did the majority of the parenting during the day and I did all of the parenting at night simply because the children could not wake him up. Even after they got a bit bigger and he started sleeping in the boys’ room with them. Shane would always seek me out in the middle of the night, even though his father was sleeping right beside him. I’d often ask him why he came to wake me up instead of telling his dad. He’d say that he’d tried to wake Bubba up but even shaking him wouldn’t get him to wake up.
Meanwhile, if the children’s breathing pattern changed during the night, even when they were in another room, it would be enough to wake me up to go check on them. I was a ridiculously light sleeper. I was constantly exhausted because I went so many years without a good night’s sleep.
Even after Bubba left town, I was still a very light sleeper. Serenity’s favorite game used to be to sneak in the room as quietly as she could then stare at me to see how long it would take me to wake up. Sometimes it would take her five minutes to walk across my room because she was trying to be that quiet. She rarely stared at me longer than two minutes before I was awake and supremely annoyed that she was staring at me again. She used to find it hilarious that she could wake me up by staring at me.
Serenity was never able to sneak into my room to sleep with me in the middle of the night because I’d hear her every single time. Now I regularly wake up to find her sound asleep beside me and wonder when that happened. She laughs now because she doesn’t even have to try to be quiet anymore. She’ll walk in, use her phone as a flashlight (any bit of light used to wake me up), trip over things, talk to herself and yet, I’m totally out.
All of that changed almost overnight once we moved into our new house. We’ve been here for many months now and I sleep like the dead. If Shane wakes up after having had a nightmare, he’ll wake up both Liam and Serenity before I hear him. Usually one of them will barge into my room and holler, “MOM! Shane is awake and now so are we!!!!!” I’ve had to tell Shane to just come into my room and wake me up instead of screaming.
All of those years that I attributed being a light sleeper to being a Mom, I was wrong. It turns out that I never felt safe enough to sleep soundly. My brain was on constant alert for DANGER, which was ever present with Bubba in the house. Now that I’m in my own house, a house that he’s never been in before, I feel totally safe for the first time in my life. My brain is no longer on high alert. It is truly amazing to me that I’m not actually the light sleeper I always thought I was.
I’m just going to add this to the growing list of things I used to think about myself that aren’t really true. It still boggles my mind how different I am now simply because I no longer live in abuse. So much of who I was ended up being a direct result of being painfully mistreated.
The true me is spreading her wings and flying!