Last Saturday, something happened that made me very proud of my family.
It was about 3 p.m. and my adult son, Brett, had just stopped by after a boxing workout. My wife, Mary Ellen, had returned from a long morning of shopping and running errands. I had just played two hours of pickleball.
What was I proud of? Everyone took a nap. Right smack in the middle of the day. People in the neighborhood were not only taking down their holiday lights but tossing around a football with the kids, gassing up the snow blowers or taking a brisk walk in the nearby woods. But the Wolfsies were all asleep, Brett sacked out on the couch, Mary Ellen in our king-sized bed, and I was tucked into my La-Z-Boy chair. Do I know how to pick a family, or what?
I wish I could have been awake to enjoy it fully. Of course, my son and wife are not experienced nappers. They have not spent the years I have perfecting the art of the timely snooze. Unlike me, my wife has never slept through Paris on a bus or dozed through an entire baseball game. Unlike me, my son has never fallen asleep at his own surprise birthday. They are novice nappers. But I was thrilled that there was hope. Here it was, Saturday afternoon, a gorgeous, crisp winter afternoon enticing every family in the neighborhood to go outside and enjoy the weather. But all the Wolfsies were napping.
Here are some drawbacks to amateur napping. When my wife awakens, she apologizes for her lapse and then spends the next three hours worrying she is coming down with something. I’m no medical expert, but I don’t think you need to give yourself a COVID-19 test if you doze off for 20 minutes in the middle of the afternoon. When I doze off for an hour or so, I awaken with a renewed sense of purpose. Men and women place different values on a good daytime snooze. Women don’t like naps because they are afraid they will miss something, like a sale or a sunset or the plot of a movie. But that’s exactly the reason I do nap — to miss things.
I do worry about my son, though. As a toddler, he showed great potential, often rivaling me. He’d fall asleep after a good meal and often snuck in a nap before going to bed. I had great expectations for him, but my hopes dimmed as he grew up. He once sat through an entire “Harry Potter” movie without snoring. And more recently, he watched 3 1/2 hours of “Oppenheimer” without digging his nails into his thigh.
You may think that we squandered valuable time by dozing off at three in the afternoon. You are entitled to your opinion, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.