"typically followed by functional impairment while awake"

Today’s ill-timed wakeup at 4:30 AM doesn’t seem to have an upside. At first I felt merely deliciously sleepy; padding downstairs to use the bathroom, washing hands, and slipping back to bed next to the other three members of the family. My children sleep snapped together like a magnet set. Today right in between Sophie’s curved small of her back and Nels’ tummy was our little kitten Mabel; purring and happy as a clam in the sand.

Getting back to sleep might be an impossibility but at least I get something done: petting this little creature, who has benefited not only from proper diet and medicine but also more love than seems possible for her tiny frame to absorb. Her narrow little rib cage feels flexible and fragile, housing only the guts she needs to eat and shit, and some kind of intense purring machine. She stretches her paw out over my chest and puts her face down, the picture of contentment. Is petting cats therapeutic? I’d read this somewhere. It certainly seems therapeutic for her, and is definitely pleasant enough.

An acute case of insomnia seems all the more cruel given yesterday’s perfect ritual of hard work, exercise, and functional menu. Last night we hosted two extra children for a sleepover; a long bike ride, a big dinner with guests roughhousing and up late. 6:30 AM and one of the children is awake. 6:30, really? This is taking me back to those days with infants; my own children usually rise anywhere from 9 AM to 11 AM. I tell myself that after the extra kids are gone I’m going to try to recover some rest; no, really I am. And I almost believe it.

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