I’m one of those insufferable people who has found the lockdowns far from terrible. I appreciate I’m one of the lucky ones, being able to carry on my work, but even that happy habit of counting your blessings is something the pandemic has shown us the way to. I’ve felt the benefits of having had life slowed down for me. Key to my feeling of wellbeing is that for the first time in a long time I’ve been sleeping well. I put this down to lockdown generally suiting me, drinking rather less and wearing a device in bed for sleep apnoea, which brings my lower jaw forward slightly to keep my passages open. It’s not the last word in romance, to be sure, but neither is sleeping next to someone who sounds like he might be choking to death several times a night.
These factors all have a bearing on my feeling of wellbeing, but the key one only came to me this week: I know my daughters aren’t doing much. I’ve written before about how a colleague told me when my first was born that once you’re a parent you never really sleep properly again. How true that turned out to be, until now. My eldest is at university, the younger is doing her A-levels. As I switch my light off at night, I know they are both safe and sound, indoors in their respective homes. In ordinary times they could be out anywhere, doing heaven knows what. No wonder I slept badly. In fact, I wonder how I slept at all. It wouldn’t be until morning that I’d find out whether they’d survived the night before. Not that I ever made it to morning; I’d always wake up in the small hours and check my phone. I thought it was my bladder waking me, but it wasn’t – it was my kids. And if there was no text there from them, much more sleep was unlikely.
My mum says that, to this day, she only ever sleeps properly on the extremely rare occasions when my brother and I are with her under the same roof. We are both in our 50s. Her birthday is in August, by which time I assume the rules will have changed. So my plan is for her sons and five grandchildren to all turn up at her place and spend the night there. For one night only, we’ll all sleep soundly.