When I was a child, I loved reading stories of tasks being done by small animals or elves while a hard working (overworked in fact) person (usually male) slept then was able to do good for others later because they were finally caught up.
When I woke up at 2: 30 one morning, I tossed and turned for quite a while before I finally got out of bed and decided to clean up the kitchen and get some things done. Shortly after I turned fifty, my sleeping patterns changed. I considered myself a great sleeper for the first 49 years of life and then something changed.
As I transformed our family space in the middle of the night, I wondered if early story tellers, woke to immaculate homes as women they lived with turned 50. Did the Grimm Brothers come up with the idea when homes were transformed while they slept. I realized that the author of my favorite types of story may have not realized that a stressed out perimenopausal middle aged female may have enjoyed actually completing tasks, start to finish, while everyone else slept. I’m sure that it was much easier in fact for the task completer to perpetuate the elves story than to risk someone interrupting the quiet.
As a younger person, I always thought I wanted someone to clean up my messes while I slept. With age comes wisdom (or a least another perspective) and I realize that maybe what I really wanted to just to celebrate the joy of being done with something.
In my house right now, a toddler and his mama, plus a houseguest from China and my 20 year old bring me joy daily. My 26 year old recently married and moved a few miles away but she and her husband visit regularly. While I long for magic elves to transform my space into a tidy and quiet place to relax, I’m not yet ready to have a silent house because that might mean all the fun people would be gone.