Before I married Curtis (he’s very wonderful), I had no idea that two of the most dramatic points of tension in our relationship would be window blinds and lamps.
You see, I hate to be tired. Most people do, really. But I also love to wake up early—well, after the initial misery of waking up early. One of my favorite things to do is quietly draw up the blinds in our bedroom and look out at the pale blue pre-sunrise sky. Or, after doing the other bits of my morning routine, I love to go back into the bedroom and yank the blinds quickly, pairing the crisp zippp with the chaos of light flooding the dark room.
And that’s where the problem begins.
Curtis also hates to be tired, and in life’s game of drawing straws, he drew the “night person” straw. His brain is kicking into gear at 10 p.m., two hours after mine has ceased to function. Every morning when I tear up the blinds and the sunlight spills in, I’m wreaking havoc and causing agony to my sleeping husband, who mumbles a cry of anguish as the light breaks his rest.
If I had a really good learning curve, I would have realized after one day—maybe two or three—that waking up in such a dramatic fashion can probably cause some longterm trauma to the woken. Unfortunately, it took me some months to have an epiphany. After all, I’m awake and the birds are awake and the sun is shining and people are outside walking their dogs and it’s at least 6:30, so everyone else should be up and at ‘em too . . .
But after months sticking with the same habit of yanking the blind open, last week I understood love in a new way—a way that reminds me that learning to love well is a journey.
Flipping the scenario, three years of school-plus-marriage has given Curtis some pretty phenomenal skills at being responsible (working two, sometimes three jobs at a time, taking a more than full BA and MA course load, and still making space for being with me). It’s also given him the top-notch ability to crank out some great papers the night before they’re due. And he often used to sit by me and work on his paper in the bedroom while I went to sleep.
But inevitably, 30 or 45 minutes into my first sleep cycle, I’d wake up abruptly and make some ogreish comment about the lamp, the light, and how the world is out to get me because I never get enough sleep, etc. Then I’d roll back over and close my eyes and hear Curtis quietly click the lamp off and go back out to the living room. After a few similar episodes, he stopped leaving the lamp on after I went to sleep.
Last week after opening the blinds and welcoming the early morning sunlight into our room and causing Curtis several hours of pain, I suddenly remembered the lamp.
The next morning I left the blind closed.
Love is patient, love is kind . . . sometimes love also takes a while to learn.