When the Overture to Verdi's "Nabucco" began playing in my dark five a.m. condo, I woke wondering what phantom was in the condo. Who was in my condo? How did they get in? Why are they playing an opera cd? Is this a dream, or am I awake?
Mothers of infants and toddlers awaken at the tiniest of sighs or whimpers. Mothers of children sit bolt upright from a sound sleep because their sleeping subconscious has momentarily misplaced the mental schedule of soccer practices, scout meetings, allergy shots, and play rehearsals. The web has to be rewoven before we can sleep.
Parents of teens don't sleep all that soundly or often. We are waiting for the phone call telling us the speech team bus will arrive back at the school at 1:30 a.m., so please be there to pick me up. Then it's just a few hours until another child needs a ride to board the bus for the 8 a.m. cross country meet.
Parents of teens with drivers licenses have new ribbons of anxiety braided into their daydreams and nightmares. If they happen to doze off before the car is safely back in the garage, they wake up in a cold sweat. I know my mother didn't sleep back in the Seventies before the invention of cell phones. My kids knew that ignoring the agreed upon return time would ensure taking an embarrassing cell phone call in front of their friends. "No, Mom, I'm not dying in a roadside ditch somewhere. No, Mom, please don't call 911! I'm dropping ___________ at her house right now, and I'll be there in five minutes! I'm sorry I made you worry."
In the empty nest phase our college kids return for the occasional weekend, but can't arrive before Friday midnight. Mine let themselves in quietly, or not, and I might only roll over and murmur a sleepy greeting. They watch some cable t.v., nuke some popcorn, receive phone calls, start their laundry. They DO NOT play opera recordings! Never, ever.
That's what confused me. Who is here, and why are they playing Verdi? It must be a ghost! This is completely unacceptable. I've got to drag myself out of bed and turn off the music before it wakes my neighbor in the next condo.
The cd is playing on my computer, so I close Windows Media Player, and crawl back to bed. Perhaps the "phantom" was an automatic upgrade download that required the system to reboot. Like those public service announcements, it's five a.m. Do you know where your children are? Do you know what your computer is doing??