A New Mattress

I think a new mattress might change my life. The one I’m sleeping on is at least 30 years old and is marked by craters and divots. I have it covered with a foam mattress pad but that, too, is way past its prime, featuring a hole where one of my pit bulls decided to have a snack while I was washing the sheets. The mattress and its cover, and indeed the pillows, sheets, and comforter, are worn, and worn down—like me, at the end of this seemingly unending winter. They are, however, better than what I found when I returned from Florida four years ago. Instead of the cherry wood sleigh bed and matching bedside tables that had been there when I left, there was, on the floor, a pile of sheets and blankets, haphazardly arranged in the shape of a bed, as for a dog.

My husband at the time had moved out while my daughter and I were visiting my mother. This—the move, the taking of the bedroom furniture—was all by prior arrangement, but after a 12-hour drive with a five-year-old, I wished for a real bed. I wished for a literal “soft place to land,” and I mourned, even in the midst of my fury at having nowhere better to sleep than some blankets on the floor, the loss of my figurative one.

My “new” bed—a metal frame, a thin box spring, and a dimpled mattress—arrived a few days later, moved from the unfinished upstairs bedroom in my mother’s house. It reflects the frugality passed down to my parents by my grandparents, thrifty Scots all, and I’ve been glad to have it. But I don’t sleep well, and my lack of sleep compounds anxiety that then sabotages my sleep even further. This lack of sleep knocks down all kinds of dominoes throughout each day.

In the hopes of one day being able to afford a new, life-changing mattress, I have been researching them online. I found a website entitled “Types of mattresses—which is best for you?” and it remains open on my phone, along with others, like “12 pieces of Buddhist wisdom that will transform your life” and “7 ways to communicate better with your tween” and “21 kitchen hacks that will step up your culinary game.” So many ways to change a life.

But with an 11½-year marriage that ended well before I found myself sleeping among blankets on the floor, and then later, four years of an on-again-off-again relationship with an alcoholic, behind me--I should know: true transformation is elusive. 

Still, I think it might begin with a good night’s sleep.