We switch off bedtimes. I read a story to GG at night and sing him a song.
He’s very demanding at night.
After I sing a song (usually the same one EVERY night – Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree), he has to lay on me and we cuddle.
My favorite time.
Then he has to sit next to me and wrap my arm around him JUST SO. My arm has to perfectly fit around his tummy and nestle in his armpit. After an arbitrary time of his choosing, he tells me that I should just go. That he’s done with me. Before that time, we sometimes chat. I try to ask him about his day. See who he played with. We talk about how he should be good for his wonderful teacher. How he needs to not look at other people while they do their work, how he should look at his own work and finish it and then he can play. We talk about things we are going to do during the week. Sometimes he asks me what I want to talk about. He often volunteers information about his day. I hope we can continue that.
I think every parent knows that it’s easier to listen in the dark. It’s easier for your child to tell you secrets in the dark. It’s easier to close your eyes and think of what you should say, how you should say it, and actually feel like you are making a difference in their lives.
Today we headed out for a Valentine’s dinner with our sweet Valentine’s. On the way there, Sam pipped up with how something VERY sad happened today but she would tell me later tonight. I asked her if it was my turn to put her to bed and she said yes.
When we were getting ready for bed later, she said she had to tell me about something very sad.
After I read Sam her book, I turned off the light and we snuggled.
“Something very sad happened today…” she said. “L* and G* were playing with me today and we were going to play the 3 Musketeers. I thought I was the leader but they said I wasn’t. So I told them ‘Guys, let’s all be the leader’ and they said no. They broke my heart. My heart broke into little pieces. They fell out of my heart, and fell to the playground in little pieces. I still had O* and N* in my heart but when we got to dinner, they fell out into little pieces too and my heart is all broken. There are no more pieces left.”
It was dark and her tears were falling. We had a rambling talk about friends, and broken hearts, and how they mend. We ended it talking about how her family would always be in her heart and how she just needs some superglue and forgiveness to mend all those pieces together.
Sometimes those talks remind me of times where I should have been better.
The dark is a strange place. Sometimes scary, sometimes sweet. I am starting to love it though. The quiet moments where it’s just me and my child, whispering in the dark.
* Names changed to protect the innocent. Especially knowing they will all be best friends tomorrow.