Framing the Dialogue

Cradle to Grave

My son recently bought a new bed. You’ll have to bear with me on this one, but I was thinking about that and its implications about growth and where we sleep or more importantly what we sleep on. He has lived on his own for years now, but still used his single bed much as he has since he was probably two years old. His move up to a double bed seemed like a life step. I know it’s just a bed, but think about what we sleep on.

While growing in utero we have a warm, moist, dark, comfortable environment for most of our stay. It gets rather crowded the last month or so before we are pushed out and move into our brief stint in the bassinet. That doesn’t last long as our folks need their sleep too so after a few weeks we are introduced to our crib. Unless a little brother or sister comes early we enjoy our crib for a couple of years before the “big bed.” This is way bigger than the crib so it often has rails so junior doesn’t roll off of the bed too often. The big bed is a big stage for the parents too as princess can easily escape. If there is a big family and few rooms the big bed is even bigger, but you have to share it with a sibling…never a fun thing as I recall from my childhood especially if you are the younger of the two.

Getting your own bed is a big deal whether it’s going straight from the crib or being set free from your brother into your own space. I consider sharing a twin bed akin to having your own single mattress. Many of us spend the next twenty years in this single bed status; even going to college doesn’t free us though the mattresses are much worse.

The next stage is another big leap in life’s journey as you move from the single to the double or full sized bed. I have to admit to being confused between the nomenclature of the sizes here, but the size differential is significant. You have room to stretch out or share it with someone. When you are young you probably are more interested in sharing than having room. Some folks skip this step and move on to the bigger sizes, but they really miss something. Sharing a double bed with someone you love is something special.

Unfortunately the novelty wears off hence the Queen mattress. My wife and I got our first queen mattress years ago. I never had experienced that much space before and came to love it. It also was nice as it had enough room for visits from our children (some wanted and some not). Saturday mornings were nice as they would often wake up and all end up in bed with us.

A few years ago (around 18 years of marriage) we needed a new mattress and my wife suggested a King Sized Bed (notice the capital letters). That seemed extreme to me. Why did we need such a big bed?  Were we now Rob and Laura Petrie?  The Queen was fine for me. As we shopped for the king bed (notice that I lost) we went to a local manufacturer that makes and sells their own models; If you have the spare time you could watch yours be built. Delivery day was a week later and the folks were good about taking the old mattress, box spring, and frame (they had a program to sanitize the old stuff to provide for needy families) before bringing in the KING. I hadn’t paid much attention, but was relieved to see that the box springs were in two pieces making them more moveable. Not so much with the mattress. I was impressed with how the guys managed the big mattress (they had it more or less folded in half) up the steps to our second floor bedroom. I should have noted how big that mattress was and how much fun I’d be having for the next decades flipping that thing around.

We of course needed all new bed sheets, etc. (as we did with each previous stage) and were forced to move some of our other furniture to accommodate the larger bed. Though it’s only marginally bigger than the queen it seems huge and it was love at first night. The early marriage desire to be next to each other is replaced by the love of space, glorious space. I can be lying half awake and not feel my wife get in and out of bed. The love of space is reinforced any time we have to sleep on a smaller mattress when we travel. If we are lucky we’ll spend many nights on this cloud of comfort before the next stage.

This stage often starts the end years where we may be forced to move back to a smaller mattress to keep on one floor or even a hospital-type bed. This sized mattress is less about status and more about need. Perhaps if you are lucky to have your spouse still at your side you’ll have that double mattress in your retirement patio home and enjoy the closeness for many years.

I really don’t want to delve too deeply into our final resting place. I still feel young enough not to be too concerned, but since I have some family members who are already gone or who are getting  much older. Life’s journey seems to somewhat parallel our sleeping arrangements for better or worse, in sickness and in health…to death do us part.

2 CommentsLeave one

  1. Kevin Holesh says:

    Very well written article. The last paragraph really pulled it together.

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