Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 16, 2010

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Afternoon nap, once resisted, now re-energizes and relaxes

As very young children, my sister Donna and I were regularly required to nap after lunch each day. Mama would lie down in the middle with one of us on either side. We always napped in Mama and Daddy’s bed, neatly made with no wrinkles allowed, not even after napping.

We were expected to be still and quiet immediately. It was not something either of us was very good at.

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I couldn’t sleep and I wouldn’t sleep. Then as now the moment I lay down my brain would gear up and a myriad of thoughts and plans and breakthroughs would tumble forth.

I tossed and turned and fidgeted as if bedbugs were biting me. I just could not be still.

The bright red handprints left stinging on my tender thighs often brought me into submission briefly.  My sister who always appeared to be obeying would be stifling giggles each time Mama popped my legs. Eventually she would also feel the same stinging swats — for laughing at me but not for fidgeting. She would always lie as still as Tut in his tomb.

For a period of time the two of us were in daycare. Naptime was as tortuous there as at home. Once while trying to defy the situation I raised up suddenly from my cot to hit my head on a protruding window air conditioner I had been placed under. This brought giggles from all the nursery school napsters and humbled me enough to keep me quiet if not still during the required naptime.

As I grew into a young adult and even after my children were born I thought naps were such a waste of time. I couldn’t wait to put the kids down every day, but sleep would always elude me when the sun was shining.

Today I have learned to embrace napping. I have made fun of Dear Don many times over the years for his ability to nap anywhere at anytime. Secretly though I envied his ability to relax so quickly. I always seemed to be able to relax my body but not my mind.

The older I get the more I appear to need to nap in the middle of the day. In the winter I can’t seem to get warm, but a nap under a warm blanket will put me out instantly.

Now hardly a weekend goes by that Don and I don’t go to the bedroom, close the blinds and lie still and quiet under the humming ceiling fan until we are both sleeping soundly.

An hour or so later we awake re-energized, relaxed and rejuvenated. I am always amazed that I haven’t done this all my life.

Dear Don says I wouldn’t do it because I was afraid I’d miss something. Perhaps he is right. I do have an unusual appetite for curiosity. I ask a lot of questions because I’m interested, not just to be nosy, although I’m that, too.

So here it is mid-morning and it is cloudy and dark and much needed rain threatens us. Surely the power will soon go out and that will be a perfect time to catch a few winks.

I hope we get a bit of thunder with that rain because I always sleep better during a storm.

Happy napping.

You get the picture.

(Contact award-winning columnist Sherry Hopkins at