Growing up, my dad used to make this joke about how quickly I would get into my pajamas after coming home from school. I didn’t waste time. It was one of the first things I did, especially when I came home later in the evening after swim practice or my part-time job. Even after I had graduated college and returned home for a year, I would come home and quickly change out of my work clothes and into my more comfortable PJ’s. It was like Clark Kent entering a phone booth and coming out in his blue and red superhero suit– straight into my bedroom and then straight back out again but with a different set of clothes. I love pajamas. And it doesn’t stop there.
I love comforters and blankets and everything that’s cozy and soft. I love laying in bed, and I stretch out that time as long as possible most days. I hit the snooze a couple times, but even after I’ve woken up, I stay in bed for a while longer (whenever time allows). I read or check my phone or snuggle up to my husband. I think and dream and imagine. It’s the best time of day, after you’ve just woken up but you haven’t started all the doing.
It’s no surprise then that when things feel unsure or shaky or scary or hard, that I retreat to my bedroom. After a hard day of work, or when I’m feeling exhausted of life, I often get under the covers and rest in the coziness of my bed until I get some energy back. When I am suffering from the debilitating menstrual cramps that hit me every few months, I put on my comfiest PJ’s, crawl into bed, and sleep the pain away. When my dad had a stroke on Christmas Eve, I hung up the phone with my sister, stopped decorating cookies, and went to my bed to cry and pray and sink into Chad’s arms. We ended up napping there for a good hour and a half before getting back up and continuing the day.
I love being in bed because it feels safe. Everything is soft and warm. Our down comforter makes that gentle rustling noise when Olive Oil jumps up and nestles into the spaces by our legs, her soft purr filling the air with peaceful contentment.
The trouble is, it’s not really safe in bed though. It just feels safe. It feels like there’s a fluffy bubble surrounding me that no amount of pain or trouble should be able to penetrate, but that’s not true.
Recently Chad and I were facing something we didn’t want to face. So I did what I do– I changed out of my work clothes, got in bed, and pulled the puffy blanket up to my chin. Chad joined me and laying there facing him, I said, desperate to believe it, “if we just stay here in bed, everything will be okay.” My pragmatist reminded me that that just isn’t true, but I replied, “can’t we just pretend then? can’t we pretend that if we stay here, everything will be okay?”
Olive Oil jumped up on the bed and settled herself on Chad’s chest, yawning and closing her eyes, purring, not a care in the world.
“Okay, let’s stay.”
In all reality, getting into bed doesn’t help. It doesn’t stop illnesses or pain. It doesn’t make mistakes disappear or disappointments evaporate. It doesn’t make hard choices easier or hard days lighter. It just gives me a moment. It gives me a moment away from the world, away from the distractions, away from the troubles. It’s comfort and peace. Sure, I can, and often do, use it to escape what I don’t want to face, but I know I can’t escape forever. But I can for a moment. I can pretend for a moment that everyone is okay and life is all as it should be. And then I can build up to the moment when I have to face what’s real and continue. Some people plow right through life because that’s how they get through tough times. I take my time. I process and prepare. I lay in the comfort of my blankets, and then I get up and go on.