One time, at a youth group retreat, as we all were tucked away in our bunkbeds at camp, our youth pastor stormed into our cabin wearing a gorilla suit. Not only was he wearing a gorilla suit, but he was holding a leaf blower. Standing behind him was a man with a video camera.
The next morning at breakfast they played the footage of their late night raid. As you can imagine, each time they entered a girls' cabin there were screams and hiding under the covers and shoes being thrown. And each time they entered a guys' cabin there were screams and boys jumping on the gorilla and a few boys even threw a few punches as they were wakened from a dead sleep.
But no reaction was as bizarre as mine. The camera zoomed in on my face, the gorilla gave his scariest gorilla yell, the leaf blower blew my hair every which way.... and I slept through it. I was sleeping as peacefully as one could sleep.
I've always had sleep issues. I sleep through anything. It's almost scary. I've always had a tendency to sleep HARD and I've always had a hard time waking up.
But of all the seasons in my life, highschool was the hardest. I simply could not wake up.
My poor dad. He tried so hard to get me moving. He'd turn on music. Open up the windows. Jump on my bed. He even went through a time when he would physically remove me from the bed.... walk me into the bathroom... turn on the lights... turn on the water in the shower, and then tell me to get ready for school as he closed the door. He would later find me sleeping on the bathroom rug.
Now, this was never an issue of being defiant. This was about the fact that I COULD NOT WAKE UP.
Now, I had a solution to my problem down to a science. I would shower the night before and dry my hair. Then, when I was in a HUGE hurry and needed to leave in 3 minutes or less.... all I had to do was wake up, put on a bra, put on jeans and a random t-shirt, socks, tennis shoes, brush my teeth, hair in pony-tail and I was out the door. I always looked so cute, I'm sure.
Then, one year, my sister Shannon felt that she had found a solution. She found a very, very special alarm clock. It was called the sonic alarm. It was meant for the elderly. This alarm had 3 annoying features:
1. The sound was so loud that it was like a home invasion alarm. My dad would be putting the trashcans at the end of the driveway and he would hear the alarm all the way outside. I, however, would sleep through it.
2. Lights. It flashed your lights off and on repeatedly. Some would find this annoying, I just slept through it.
3. Shaking. Yes, you put something under your pillow and it would shake your pillow till you woke up. I AM NOT JOKING ABOUT THIS ONE.
And as this alarm that hurt your ears would go on and on for half an hour... my sweet daddy would come upstairs, and say "JENNIFER!!" through clenched teeth. He almost growled it. Bless his soul... he tried so hard. I think I was just so, so deep in a REM cycle that I couldn't come out of it.
It has gotten better with time. I still don't like waking up and it is still hard for me but I am no longer sleeping through everything.
This post was inspired by a comment my sister Shannon wrote on my Facebook wall:
"I just told Juliet & Scarlett stories about how spirited you used to be in the mornings growing up. And how you would never get out of bed and still don't. They laughed and laughed. Scarlett asked, "Mommy - are you really telling the truth? Did he really do that? Pops really growled and you gave her a alarm that made her pillow shake?" "Yes, Baby Scarlett! It's all true!"