“…Natives don’t wear pajamas.”

When you get married, and subsequently start living life as a husband or wife, you absorb tremendous amounts of knowledge about your partner that you never knew. I only knew Vanessa 4 months before I proposed and we were married 5 months after that proposal. I deployed 3 months later for a year. There was an extensive list of things we didn’t know about each other. But that’s okay, because we were in love and still are. But you do find out stuff they really don’t like about you.

My opinion is that we don’t always know what others dislike about yourself because we put our best foot forward in the dating process. You want that person to like you. I always tried to do things how I always did, and be who I was. It seemed to work, but a few years into marriage I found out that I would have to change my ways. Because the proverbial saying, “Happy wife, happy life,” is true. And the things I thought my wife didn’t mind, actually bothered her, or maybe it was that we are never quite the same people when we first get married.

I’ll keep the story light, because I know better than to publicly acknowledge our “disagreements.” But I made a short list of habits I would have to change, that Vanessa doesn’t like. I would also like to add the caveat that Vanessa has a similar list of her habits that I don’t like… but it’s my blog hahaha. So here we go:

  1. (Occasionally) I would leave my clothes on the floor for multiple days
  2. I take solid bites out of blocks of cheese, then put it back. (I still do this, but I use the cheese grater to smooth out the ends)
  3. I taught the kids to get the remote for me
  4. I leave my hair in the shower (occasionally)
  5. I don’t make the bed correctly (Ironic, considering I was in the Army. But I don’t line up the sheets and put the comforter on sideways. Plus in the Army, the crisp bed was just for show. I actually made my bed once, and then slept in my sleeping bag on top of the bed the whole time)
  6. I don’t wear pajamas to bed, I wear jeans, and/or regular clothes to bed.

I got in trouble a few times for doing these things. And a few times Vanessa asked me to sleep on the couch. But little did she know I actually like sleeping on the couch. And the first time I was kicked out of the room I made a blanket fort in the living room… not a good idea, but it seemed funny at the time. Okay it’s still funny, and I would probably do it again. But it’s nice sleeping in the living room. The TV is bigger, the fridge is closer, and it reminds me of my Army days. I loved sleeping on top the tank, and the hood of HMMWVs. The warm exhaust would rock me into a coma full of vivid dreams. The perfect escape. But it got me thinking, why did I like sleeping in the living room, and why do I still like wearing jeans to bed…. I think it’s because it reminds me of my childhood.

I remember long trips and church services on the rez my parents would take me too. I always fell asleep during the loud alter calls somewhere in between pews and wood chips. I would feel the occasional spider or bug crawl across my arms. My Dad would pick me up and carry me to our blue astro van. I would sleep the whole way back to wherever we were staying and I would either sleep on the couch, or some other make shift bed on the floor, always in my jeans. I don’t ever remember having pajamas. I don’t even remember my parents ever wearing pajamas. We probably all did, but Camie is the only one I remember having them. She had this light blue green night gown from her birthday when she had a slumber party. But it makes me wonder if most Native don’t wear pajamas.

But I liked sleeping in my jeans. I would take a bath and change into the clothes I was going to wear the next day, so I could just get up and go. It was efficient. Just like we all didn’t grow up with our mattress on the floor. I also liked my mattress on the floor though, because monsters could never live under my bed. My bedroom was scary enough. It was in the middle of the house in the darkest room, with a wobbly wooden fan barely hanging on by electrical wire. There were no pictures on the wall, just these mickey mouse curtains. But they weren’t real Mickey Mouse curtains, they were from Mexico. They were bootleg Mickey Mouse curtains. If the mickey on my curtains had a show, it would be called Mickey Mouse Meth House.

The real reason I loved sleeping like this is because I knew my Mom had a much tougher childhood than me. And I always loved her stories. She told me about having her make shift bed, running around with no shoes, eating crickets with tortillas, among many things. And I wanted to be like my Mom, so I love make shift beds, I still walk outside with no shoes, and ate a few crickets. I never had a childhood like my Mother’s but I had my own. I still like wearing jeans to bed because it’s a profound personal reminder not to get too comfortable, and reminiscent of happy times when we had much less in life, like pajamas.

Leave a Reply