Posted by: facetothewind | December 11, 2009

Silent night in the back house or how I learned to love an academic

I go to sleep at 11.
PM that is.
Sebastian goes to sleep at 5.
AM, that is.

Heavenly peace

He is writing his numerous papers for his Master’s degree which is going to be handed to him in a week. It’s a very demanding time with him writing about 22 hours a day. Today at dawn I saw that the light in the big house was still on…he pulled another all-nighter…which would explain the empty place in bed this morning in the back house. I went back to sleep for an hour and then came into the big house. He had finally gone to sleep as the sun was rising and casting rainbows through the crystal hanging by the window.

He hadn’t turned on the heat and was curled into a ball for warmth. He was still in his clothes. I put a blanket on him. I sit at my desk in the morning sun, sipping tea and watching over him as he sleeps. He’s like Baby Jesus lying in a manger, all tender and mild. (Oh dear, it’s Christmas and I sing in a chorus.)

Like a shepherd, I watch him and contemplate what one should and shouldn’t say to a grad student.

Things to say to grad student:

I fixed the flat tire on the bike.
Don’t forget your bike light and your helmet.
There’s dinner in the fridge when you get home.
I did your laundry.
I fixed the Internet.
It’s only 1 more week.
Keep your hands on the plough and your eyes on the prize.
Wow, is there really a feminist influence on 19th century German literature?

Things NOT to say to a grad student:

Come to bed, you’ll work better if you get a good night’s sleep.
Can we have sex now?
Would you put away your dirty clothes?
Can you help out in the kitchen?
We’re out of food, can you pick up something on the way home?
Would you like to join me for a cocktail at the hot tub?
You know that a liberal arts degree is of no use when society collapses.


I will now go make him breakfast and do the grocery shopping.

Sleeping Sebby 2

Sleep in heavenly peace, my love.



  1. David, I’ve never heard you so tender and serene. I feel your sweetness.

    Also, I understand about what one can and can’t say to a person under tremendous pressure…when Nic was both working full-time AND going to school full time for her master’s degree, I was refraining from complaining a good deal. I have told her, though, that if she goes for a Ph.D. while still working full-time, I will not be living with her.

    What I got most sick of was hearing her say, when we finally fell into bed together at the end of one of many, many overwrought days, “I’m sorry…I’m tired.” Every night. Same thing. Same inflection. Same sincerity. Same truth. We had to talk about it in counseling, and our counselor, Paula, told Nic that I *KNEW* she was tired; I KNEW she was sorry, and that I didnt’ want to hear it that way anymore. She had Nic make a sign, and post it on top of the bed. It helped a lot — made us laugh instead of fight.

    Good luck. One week to go!

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