At home (my old one, anyway) we use sound machines in our children’s bedrooms to drown out noise and help them sleep better. It’s usually white noise or the ocean or crickets or birds.
I hate the fucking bird one.
When I moved into my new place, I had trouble sleeping the first couple of nights and I couldn’t figure out why. Other than the obvious culprits of going through a gut-wrenching divorce and not sleeping under the same roof as the rest of my family, I didn’t know why I was struggling to fall asleep – and kept waking up once I did.
Then it occurred to me: It was too quiet.
Our children are ten, seven, and four. We’ve been using sound machines for a decade. Actually two for the last four years since my son was born. Our daughters share a room (that’s one sound machine) and my son has his own room (that’s the second). We leave their doors open when we sleep and it’s a small house, so my sleeping ears had become accustomed to constant, repetitive, numbing noise throughout the night.
So on night three, I turned on the white noise app on my phone before closing my eyes.
I bet I didn’t last thirty seconds.
There is comfort in that noise. Noise that reminds me of ten years of parenting. Ten years of late-night feedings, nightmares, and bed-wettings. Ten years of “I’m thirsty”, “Can you read me one more book?”, and “Daddy, why can’t I hug God?”. Ten years of having a drink together after we got them down and watching an old episode of Frasier or The Office. Ten years of sex after they fell asleep.
I hope I don’t need it forever. I hope someday I can fall asleep in the silence. But until then, I’m cutting myself some slack and using it. It makes me feel not so alone. Like I might make it through this. Like there’s hope.
Today, to be divorced means maybe there’s hope.