This sounds a bit silly, perhaps, but I was really looking forward to spending some time alone. Since the pandemic – which also more or less coincided with becoming parents (twice) – I have not spent any evening alone. Every day is quite similar. I get home, one of us cooks dinner while the other plays with the kids. We eat dinner. We play some more, and read them a book to wind down for bed. I bring my son to bed, while my wife Heike takes care of our daughter. When we’re both done, we have one or two hours together, which may or may not be interrupted by a crying baby daughter. We live in a small apartment, and the kids each occupy a room until we go to sleep in the same room, to make the bedtime ritual easier. Our evenings together are always confined to the small living room. We have spent all these pandemic evenings happy together, but however much I love my wife, I also love being alone sometimes. In the past I would simply hide in another room and play a computer game, or work with my plants, or my pet snakes, or whatever. It’s not really about the activity, I think. It’s about simply being.
I do miss that sometimes.
The last few months I have felt quite tired and overwhelmed regularly, almost constantly. Our sleep is often broken up into chunks by our daughter waking up. She’s easy to calm down and bring back to sleep, but once awake, I’m awake for awhile. My mind races. You know how these things go, eh? My son also has the tendency to interrupt my sleep and try to dig his hands into my neck. Most nights are disrupted, and some nights I feel like I didn’t even sleep at all.
I thought two nights away with the camper alone would be a great way to replenish my energy levels and get some much deserved sleep, while visiting several friends that I haven’t seen in a while. The first night I was restless. Storm Dudley rolled in and basically shook the camper left to right all night, and sleeping in the high roof, means sleeping at the highest part of the shaking amplitude. It was an interesting night that brought me back to a night I spent years ago on a Thai ship that took me from Chumphon to Koh Tao. Seas were rough, and all night I was rolling left to right in the top bunk bed. It was worth it though.
My second night in the van – last night – was quiet. I went to bed at just after 10pm, and put the alarm at 8am. Why not make the most out of it…
Of course I was wide awake at 6am.
Last night has been good in a way. I feel like I have slept well. Apparently I didn’t have much catching up to do… Waking up alone is weird though. I miss my son telling me similar stories every morning about the things he dreams of. I doubt he knows what dreaming is. It’s always about either a red tractor or ‘the wheels of the bus…’ song anyway. I miss my daughter’s excited face when she sees me the first time in the morning. I miss that short but magical cuddling moment with Heike and our kids. It’s always such a good start of the day. And although it’s certainly true that I have more space in our camper van alone, even that is better when shared.
Now I hope that this new storm Eunice keeps quiet at least until 2pm or so, so I can safely drive back to see them at my parents-in-law tonight. These past two nights will be enough to get me through another couple of years.