Almost a year ago I heard about this whole NaBloPoMo thing, where bloggers complete a post a day for a month. I put a reminder in my phone to think about doing it in November, the original NaBloPoMo month. When my phone dinged this morning with the agenda item, I promptly deleted it. I knew today was going to be a rough day with heavy rain keeping the four of us indoors, and the kids coming down from their Halloween high last night. The kids cried when soccer was canceled, I burned my lips on a scalding hot cup of chai tea, and we had a family meltdown over a prized piece of Hershey’s candy corn white chocolate that mysteriously found it’s way out of our daughter’s plastic pumpkin into our son’s (in his defense, it is really good and upon inventory of his loot this morning he discovered he did not obtain the bounty like his sister had). We made it through the day, suffering through a family game night that the kids are barely old enough to enjoy, and I found myself struggling to keep my eyes open at 7:30, telling myself what a waste of a daylight savings night this was since we’ll get to sleep an extra hour tonight. Then I realized I wanted to commit to memory–in writing–a small happening that made my husband and me smile.
Lately, we’ve been letting our daughter enjoy her second grade glory and read for 20 minutes or so before bed. We go through the normal routine: pajamas, teeth brushing, communal story, head scarf for our beautiful black girl’s hair. Then we tuck the kids into bed, and give our daughter a time for lights out. She read silently in her bed, sometimes on the old Kindle I gave her and sometimes in actual books, and when her Hello Kitty clock displays the specific time on which we’ve agreed, she clicks off her lamp and goes to sleep. Her first grade brother has been begging for a similar treatment, but he lacks the time telling skills as well as the self-control to be given this kind of freedom.
Tonight though, since we are getting the extra hour of sleep, I offered to let his sister tell him when reading time was over. My husband and I got the kids ready for bed, and I gave them about 30 minutes of reading time. We said our goodnights, and the adults settled in front of the television to watch last week’s Scandal. Precisely 30 minutes later, we hear a little scene play out through the baby monitor that is still set up in our son’s room. His big sister has come in to tell him it’s time. There’s no fighting, there’s no arguing, there’s barely anything more audible than a whisper. And it’s done.
I head upstairs. The lights are out and it’s quiet. I knock on our daughter’s door, and gently ease it open.
“You were a great big sister tonight.”
“That’s what big sister’s do; they help their little brothers learn.”
“I’ll see you in the morning.”
“You mean you’ll see me forever. Because we’re in the same family.” She’s never said this before, and it’s one of those few times when her child’s logic stuns rather than frustrates.
“Right. I’ll see you forever. Good night.”
In the darkened room I can just make out her beaming smile, and I know this is something I need to hold on to tomorrow when it she’s smashing her brother’s skull with the new light saber she got for her Luke Skywalker costume last night. They fight. We fight. But we’ll see each other forever.