One of the rarest privileges I have as a caregiver is quiet time. When I’m awake, I am always listening for his,”Hey, Sweetie,” call that says I’m needed. During my work day if I’m not taking care of his needs in some way, I’m working. From the moment I get up…no actually, twenty-four hours a day, I am being called on to either meet his needs, work, or care for our home and personal needs. Twenty-four hours a day EXCEPT for the time between 10:00 p.m. and when I wake him for dinner around 1:00 a.m. (though tonight I’m letting him sleep longer so I can write this.)
Those three hours are my escape time. For those three hours, I know (most likely) I can do whatever I want without being interrupted. During that time I usually finish whatever work is still waiting for my attention, I cook dinner, prepare his meal for the next day, make smoothies for the next day, clean the kitchen, take a shower, eat my own dinner while I listen to a book (my primary form of entertainment) and occasionally throw in a few other chores. He used to get annoyed at me for letting him sleep so long but he’s finally realized this is MY TIME. I don’t otherwise have any period of the day where the time is my time and mine alone.
My time alone is very precious to me. I don’t want to share it by making phone calls (not that too many people are up socializing that time of night anyway). I like the opportunity to finish what I’m working on. I like being able to finish a complete thought without being interrupted. It’s time I have control of and I can use as I see fit. Granted I am usually working, not relaxing, but just having control of the time is so much better than the frustration of constant interruption.
I realize parents maybe thinking that it’s the same for them but it’s not. With a child, they sleep better and longer hours (I’m up every two – three hours all night every night) and children often go to a friend’s house to play or be handed off to the other parent (if one is in the house). Not so for me. Even when others are here, I’m still the primary caregiver and still working around his schedule and needs so it’s not my time. Therefore, when he talks about making me promise to get him up after two hours, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I think he’s finally gotten the message that these three hours are my sanity time. If I didn’t have them, I might actually be bald from pulling my hair out or have had a break with reality.
He’s been asleep now since 10 p.m. so I really do need to go get him up for dinner plus I will get up too late in the morning to have a full day if I don’t get this last job of the day done… so I have to bring this to a close…but I love this time so much that it’s really difficult to bring it to a close.