I love bed time for all the wrong reasons. Actually, one specific wrong reason: because it means in 45 minutes I will have three hours all to myself. A crackling fire, a glass of wine and the fourth book in the Game of Thrones series call my name plaintively from downstairs, forcing me to dig deep and breathe slowly through the last push.
Our bedtime routine is good. I can say that now as a mother of four, who has tucked, read, kissed and bid goodnight over 2500 times in seven years. I’ve earned the right to say, yes, we have this. It’s serene and set. The kids know what to expect. It runs smoothly through, well-worn, time-tested steps. Pajamas, teeth, books and then each child picks a song. I sing softly as I tuck and tidy, ending every single night with Goodnight Sweethearts, the song my father sang to my sisters and I.
“It’s three o’clock in the morning,
and babies I really must go. (have a glass of wine)
I know that you say that you want me to stay,
and bay-by, I lu-uv, you so.
Duh-do-do, duh-do-do, duh-do.”
And then I put each of their names into the song as I deliver a final kiss on the cheek and ask them to tell me one thing. The little ritual drags some nights, when I’m tired and I wish their stories weren’t so long or their questions so complex, but there’s no better way to worm in and learn what’s weighing on a little mind then to let a child tell you “one thing” before bed time.
“Good night, sweet Nate, good night.”
“Momma? How do the walls stay together?” With nails, I answer. “What if they fall?” They won’t, Daddy put those nails in and they are strong.
“Good night, sweet Quinn, good night.”
“If I dream the spider dream, can I call you?” Always.
“Good night, sweet Garrett, good night.”
They say life is what happens while you’re waiting for something to happen. These small moments are what really matter, the whispered questions, the snuggly kisses. And when they go right, especially when they go right, they are hard to notice and harder to hold, like a wisp of wind.”
– Stacey Connor
“Nothing.” It’s his new response. He refuses even to look up from the last Harry Book cradled in his lap. Nothing? What’s Harry doing? “Ron’s left them alone! But he’ll come back. He loves Harry.
“Good night, sweet Saige, good night.”
“Remember how Kara said her older brother is lucky because he has two daddies and two mommies? Is he adopted?” Yes, in a way. His bio mom and dad married other people, so he has a step-mom and a step-dad, which are a kind of adoptive parents. “He’s lucky just like me.” It’s always lucky to be loved and you both are.
They say life is what happens while you’re waiting for something to happen. These small moments are what really matter, the whispered questions, the snuggly kisses. And when they go right, especially when they go right, they are hard to notice and harder to hold, like a wisp of wind.
So, I pause a moment to acknowledge it, my 2501-ish bed time, but not too long. Life is happening and my wine is waiting.