Sleeping Together

Originally published in December 2008 issue of Military Spouse Magazine

Sleeping in the bed with your spouse again after a deployment is a totally different subject than sex. If you ladies were like me, you had to acquire some bizarre sleeping rituals to get some rest at night during the months of separation. My husband was really freaked out by the new nighttime routine. At one point in the deployment my bedtime had moved from 11:00 PM to about 2:00 AM. Instead of sleeping on the left side of the bed like I had prior to the deployment, I would now sleep in the middle of the bed surrounded by all the pillows; I made a nest of pillows. I also had bought this tiny squishy pillow that I had to sleep with on my stomach to make up for the fact that Jon was not there. By the time Jon got back, I was used to it and still needed it to sleep. He hated that this tiny pillow was always between us. This new pillow was his archrival. He hated it. When I was not looking he would toss it across the room. I would go insane like a Linus wanting his blanket. Whenever Jon complained about having to sleep in the bed with one leg hanging off the side because there was no room, I would tell him to be glad I did not have the taser under my pillow anymore. I was still living like a bachelorette, and not being very courteous. I was not the only one adjusting after a deployment.

I had a cat on the pillow above my head, another by my feet and sometimes the dogs in the bed too. The bed was jammed pack. Jon had to fight for a position. Often when sleeping, I would spread out into an “x” shape and he would wake up in a corner of the bed. To get me back for my interpretive sleep routine, he would tell me in the morning that my breath, “smelled like Iraq” and one time even put on a gas mask so when I rolled over there he was in his protected armor.

I had taken up sewing during the deployment and had hand stitched about ten different moo moo like nightgowns. I was very proud of my accomplishments with these hand- made designs. The gowns looked like a cross between a dress worn by Mama from “Mamma’s Family,” complete with ruffles, a high neck, lace, and a dress worn on “Little House on the Prairie.” To Jon they were a huge sexual turn off, but to me they were really soft and comfortable. I would like to wear my moo moo with a pair of thick socks from Costco. Jon would hiss under his breath at night when I emerged from the bathroom in one of my hand made gowns. He would say one word, but it sounded like a threat, “MOO MOO!” I would try to initiate sex and he would not respond. I told him, “Let’s play fantasy! It’s the civil war. You’ve been injured on my father’s land and I hid you in the barn… go with it.” My role playing fantasy was a no go. I did not understand why he cared what I wore to bed. We had a healthy sex life, what was the big deal? Deep down I knew I was being selfish and was putting my comfort before my man’s needs of seeing his wife look attractive. I was not willing to change my reunites to let him back in. Eventually, I saw the error of my ways, I needed to let my husband know he was a part of our home again, and I was ready to be a wife again. I put all my moo moos in storage. I got excited about buying cuter, hipper looking jammies at Target. I liked the new attention I got from my man by looking cute and sexy instead of like his grandma. My sex life and sleeping habits got even better. All was back to normal, my man was happy. I did ask for one compromise, and I got it. I wore cuter nightgowns for Jon and he allowed me to keep the socks on. Two years after his last deployment we are still fighting over the tiny pillow. I am working on it.