Do you ever stop to think about the odd things in life that give us comfort? An old t-shirt, a favorite meal, or maybe a certain smell. For me, it is a TV show.
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Trekee. For most of my life, Star Trek has been part of my bedtime routine. I watch it for its familiarity and somewhat cheesy plots that require very little thinking.
When I was a child, my parents slept in an antique bed. The makeup of this beautiful farmhouse bed is sturdy maple. It has been passed down for nearly 200 years in our family. The bed rises majestically about 4 feet off of the floor and is handmade.
When I was younger, my parents would send my brother and me to bed with a warning not to step one foot out of bed. Since the rooms were adjacent, this made for hours of making up silly games played by shouting to one another across the hall. Whether it be twenty questions or would you rather, we toiled away the time by playing in our beds. As much as we fought during the day or raced up the stairs to see who was the fastest, we always came together in defiance of bedtime.
Growing up, my neighbor was my best friend. She was the sun and moon and stars to me. We spent hours roller skating in our unfinished basement and on our front porch. We coordinated school outfits wearing matching knickers and shirts and loved the movie Annie (the original, kids). Her father that December prior had made homemade eggnog and we had drinking contests. Riding bikes and playing spies using our water meter as a base came to a screeching halt due to an eighteen-wheeler and some black ice in Iowa. Tragically, in March of my 8th year, my best friend was killed in a car accident.
So, as sadness and anxiety crept in, those games played with my brother became a much-needed distraction that would help me fall asleep. What were once games of defiance became a solace for me. They were a way of continuing dialogue in order to distract my eight-year-old mind from processing the enormity that life can end in the blink of an eye. Soon, the games no longer were sufficient in taking away the waves of anxiety and grief. My parent’s room was a safe space and that cavern of a bed became my hideaway from the safety of the world. It was my respite from fear and anxiety.
Now that I am a parent of four, my children sleep on my floor. Though they are twelve, ten, and six, I welcome them into the safety of their parents’ proximity. I don’t view their closeness as an intrusion but as a gift. I know my children will not always want or even need my presence. My now fourteen-year-old cherishes his own room. I know the days with my younger ones are numbered.
On occasion, my husband and I will put on Star Trek to fall asleep. I recognize how sexist and misogynistic the show really is, but I still find comfort in the familiarity of it. These days we often fall asleep watching The Office. Years from now, I’m sure my kids will look back and remember sleeping on the floor with a pillow and a favorite blanket. I am certain they will be able to quote Pam & Jim. My hope is that they look back and think that society has come so far from the satire they are watching today. That they will occasionally flip it on for nostalgia and comfort and allow their own babies to bask in the love and assurance of their floor.