By Susan Govern
My husband, by virtue of the work he does as a school bus driver, is used to rising early in the morning. Even on days when he doesn’t have to be up at 5:00 a.m. he doesn’t usually sleep past 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. Only once in a while will he crawl out of bed at 8:30.
On the other hand I am late to bed and late to rise. It’s a habit I got into for two reasons.
For several years while Tim was still working at the Chrysler Plant in Twinsburg, he worked a night shift which meant I was home at night with the kids. Being in “protective mommy” mode I couldn’t bring myself to go to bed when all I would be doing is listening for every unusual noise. I finally would fall into bed about 1:00 in the morning – or sometimes 1:30 – so tired that I would fall asleep right away. This made for getting up to get the kids off to school a real pain.
I finally accepted Tim would be on late shift for the foreseeable future and learned to keep more reasonable hours.
That went out the window when my dad passed. For months after I couldn’t shut off my mind at night and found the only way to get any sleep was to be so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. This meant going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning. After my daughter was off to school, it was back to bed till late morning. My husband now out of work because Chrysler had closed the plant, went back to be a morning person.
Thus we came to be a couple best described as an early bird and a night owl. When he took on bus driving, he embraced getting his day started early. Me on the other hand – I only embraced getting up at the crack of dawn (or even before) if we were headed somewhere on vacation.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that I can be up till almost midnight doing last minute preparations for a trip then wake up at 4:00 a.m. so we can hit the road by 5:30 or 6:00, and not complain once. Yet if you try to wake me any other time that early – you will be dealing with a person who is likely to bite your head off – in other words waking me early without good reason can get ugly.
My husband isn’t much fun either by being an early bird. His get up and go attitude of the morning gets up and leaves by the time the 10:00 evening news comes on. I can be wide awake and listening to the news – look over at him ten minutes after it begins and he is sound asleep in the recliner.
This would be understandable if it happened only during the school year, but it’s become a year-round habit.
“I just want to catch the first weather report on the news then I’m going to bed,” he’ll say. Then as if someone flicked a switch he’s out. This has resulted in me developing a new evening habit.
So he doesn’t miss the weather report, I have been known to clap my hands to wake him in time, or announce loudly “WEATHER”. Sometimes I let him sleep until he wakes on his own then I have fun as he tries to convince me he wasn’t asleep and was “just resting my eyes”.
I look forward to making a convert out of him when he retires later this year from bus driving. I want to bring him over to the dark side – that is staying up after dark.
He doesn’t know what he’s missing. Several television stations run old movies or reruns of the shows we grew up watching – all on late at night.
Then there’s the pleasure of staying up late and knowing that if you want to read a book, the house is quiet and the phone won’t be ringing just as you get to the best chapter. There’s no one to interrupt and disturb these simple pleasures.
Now that I think about it – maybe I’m better off not convincing him to trade being an early bird for a night owl.