tonight i was tucking the kid in & kissing her goodnight and i had a flashback to my own childhood. you see, she's sleeping in a pillow pile on her bedroom floor rather than in her bed. every so often she makes up a little nest somewhere in her room & then sleeps there for a few nights & then the fun wears off & she goes back to her top bunk again. this time the space is really small & she can't even stretch her legs out, but she's curled up like a big puppy, happy as can be.
when i was a kid, my brother (who is only a year older than myself) and i used to sleep all over the place and our nests weren't limited to our bedrooms. we slept on various floors, under the baby grand piano with couch cushions propped up around it to close us in. we slept in the dry bathtub. we draped blankets over the kitchen table & slept under there and at one point, we even slept under the ping pong table in the cellar. i didn't know until i woke up the next morning, but sleeping in our funky basement caused my brother to have an asthma attack & he had to be taken for medical treatment in the middle of the night. i wondered why he wasn't still down there on the concrete floor with me when i woke up the next morning, but i never could've guessed the answer.
i slept in a crack/fort space in between a couple sheets of sheetrock & beams in the cellar when we discovered it was in there & we could slither in if we dragged up a ladder and shimmied in just so. there was even a peak hole where we could spy out to see if anyone was coming. or to beg for food if we got hungry & it was too much effort to slip & slide back out of the hole.
sometimes we had an adventure together and camped out with our sleeping bags side by side and other times we had solo adventures. on one of my wacky solo sleep-outs, i chose to bed down in my favorite weird place, which was behind the couch. i'd slept there on several previous occasions, but this time i decided that i wanted to take my book with me so i could read for a bit before going to sleep. however, since i was wedged in tightly behind the couch in such a way that i couldn't even bend my legs in my holly hobby sleeping bag, there was very little light by which to read my book. then i had the great idea to take my bedroom lamp with me. i ran up & got it, plugged it in & realized that it would never fit back there with the lampshade, so i yanked the shade off & sure enough, it fit just fine then. i got myself & my book situated with the cat curled up close to my pillow to enjoy the newly installed heat lamp.
i was reading myself into a slumber when one of my parents came running into the room, clearly upset.
"what is that smell? what's burning?! SHERILIN!?!"
that's when we realized that in putting that shadeless lamp back there with me, the light bulb was just about pressed against the fabric on the back of the couch & i had burned a hole in the back of the couch, which, by that time was a smoldering mess of blackened, plaid nylon.
but i'll always take with me the joy of my childhood sleeping adventures. being free to pick a spot, any weird spot & curl up there for a night of dreaming about being a hobbit or a fairy or a dallas cowboy cheerleader, without any adult telling me that it wasn't proper or acceptable to sleep in the place that fed my imagination with a healthy dose of happiness. so thank you, mom and dad, and i pass that gift down to my own girl.