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A Father's Journal / Caught in the act

Published 5:40 pm, Saturday, December 29, 2012
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I caught my wife. The usual cliches appplied to me: I had suspected nothing, and I was the last to know.

I was on I-95, heading back to the office from a client meeting and had to pass Exit 19, so I decided to stop at home. I was surprised to see my wife's car in the driveway.

She had come home from a business trip late the night before, but she was up early to see the girls off to school. Then, I had assumed, she went to work.

I entered the house and didn't find Laura in the living room, dining room or kitchen. I checked in the basement. I called out her name. Nothing.

Sometimes she goes walking with a friend after they get the kids on the bus. But that's over by 9 a.m. Now, it was after 10.

As I climbed the stairs to the second floor, I called her name again. I reached the top of the stairs and turned. Then I saw her in bed.

She was napping in the middle of the day!

It was like finding big foot and Nessie having tea at the Sherman Green gazebo. Laura was napping. She hates it when I nap. I think it has something to do with her Protestant work ethic -- even though she's Jewish.

On a weekend afternoon after a late night, I feel my pillow calling me to slip beneath my 400-thread count sheets and drift away. Like an addict, I often succumb to the call. My wife treats it is some type of character flaw. She has things for me to do on the weekend. Napping is not one of them.

A nap is like a mistress. A soft, pillowed mistress. Welcoming me, not judging me. She opens up her arms inviting me to "come and be refreshed." On a weekend, if my wife is out of town -- or just out for the day -- she sometimes will call home and quiz my daughters about whether I am napping or have napped that day.

To justify my position, I turned to the Internet. This is why the Internet was invented -- to settle marital disputes. It turns out, before the Industrial Revolution, people did not get all of their sleep in one period. Someone had to be awake to watch for predators.

"Hey Throg, why don't you take a quick nap while I keep an eye out for lions."

"Great, Karge. I'll watch later while you catch a few winks. I just wish we had invented nice soft pillows by now." "Someday Throg, someday."

Some countries still revere the nap. I would be a king in southern Europe, China, and other cultures as well.

To catch my wife napping was one of my greatest triumphs. Sure, she was operating on only a few hours of sleep. But she was napping. I did not wake her. I fought the urge to take a picture of her and post it somewhere. I successfully overcame my desire to use a Sharpie and draw a mustache on her. Instead I took the high ground and let her sleep.

I did bring it up at dinner that night.

"You came home really late from your trip last night," I said in my sincerest voice. You must not have gotten much sleep. You get a nap in today?"

"Not really," she said. "I lay down for a while but never really got to sleep."

I was trembling with excitement. This was my moment at last. I could jump on the table and shout "liar!" But I held it together. I should have taken a picture or did that whole mustache thing.

I summoned all my reserve and casually said, "Oh, I dropped by around 10 (not saying 10:19), and you were asleep."

There, it was out. A great weight had been lifted. I waited for her response. This was my moment.

"I guess I did get some sleep then," she said.

That was it? Not "I'm sorry that I have been insinuating that you're lazy for napping all these years. You were right I was wrong. You are not only a king in parts of Asia and southern Europe, but you are a king here in our home."

Nope. Dream on.

Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His "A Father's Journal" usually appears every other Wednesday but is in this space today because there was no Wednesday edition this week. He can be reached at: tlawlor@mcommunications.com