Let Me Sleep

By Cindy Koch

I must be really tired right now. We are hiking the John Muir trail, and when you read this, we will be on day 14. I planned to leave you with some thoughts on marriage as Paul and I are taking our grand adventure away from kids, phones, and everyday life. But two weeks now, without my favorite pillow… I hope I’m doing ok out there.

While preparing to leave, I came across this older picture Paul took of me when we were on a shorter hiking adventure together last year. I can remember that day, finding a beautiful tiny lake tucked behind a forbidding rocky face of a mountain. We spent the day relaxing in the sun, taking a dip in the frigid glassy lake, and sometime later found a patch of softer weeds in the shade. But I was exhausted from the uncomfortable night before, missing my favorite pillow, of course.  So as we both lay back in the grass listening to the mountain whispers, I must have dozed off.

I jolted awake, suddenly aware that I had drifted to sleep. Panicked, for whatever reason I sat up, sorry that I had closed my eyes for what I thought was a long blink. But Paul was  down by the water contentedly, taking pictures of this and that, just letting me sleep. I took a breath to calm down. In the quiet mountain air, I could take a moment to appreciate just what he did for me. I had a chance to reflect on who we were for each other.

He knew he was tired. He let me sleep. I could think of countless times when he held off on his plans and his needs to care for me. I then thought of the years of babies, when he was the one who needed to sleep. Work came early in the morning, and I was nursing. So, if the baby cried in the middle of the night, I got up. I let him sleep.

Now, we easily could have taken sleep away from each other, demanding that we both deserve the same uncomfortable trials during every step of our life together. It wasn’t all roses and rainbows, for sure. But I guess we never really did it like that. We each endure a little burden for the other. He hasn’t ever held my burdens against me, and I willingly bear burdens for him. That’s our marriage. We let each other sleep.