It is nighttime. I’m already in bed, stretched out between fleece sheets, buried by a down duvet. The sheets are warm against my chilled skin and I can feel myself relaxing into the coziness. I’m at that in-between stage, the awake/asleep zone where all noises are in the distance, a part of someone else’s world. The light under the door is hazy, like it too is sleepy and having a hard-time being bright. I remember similar nights, many years ago, and my memories are part dream.
I see my boys as little guys, asleep, whirlwinds wound down after a day at the beach. I smile as I think about tucking them in. I loved our bedtime ritual of a story, a song, and a prayer. Their hair, bleached blonder by the early summer sun, was soft, and where their heads touched their pillows, little sections of it flew around, stirred by the ceiling fan. Their cheeks, pink with a healthy touch of sunshine, invited one more goodnight kiss before I left them to hunt seashells in their dreams.
Years pass, and my sleepy thoughts turn to my daughter. Stuck at being the youngest, and with two older brothers, she was sorely outnumbered. Fiercely independent, she got ready for bed with no prompting. When I stopped to tuck her in, I found her reading. Like me, she spends a lot of time by herself, but where I saw that time as loneliness, she saw it as a haven from the burping, farting world of raised toilet seats where she lived. A soft smile touches my face as I think about the rose among my thorns. She’ll be okay, my daughter.
More years fly by, and I see the boys as teenagers who no longer need monsters chased out from under their beds. I can hear the TV, muted voices punctuated by sporadic laughter, belly laughs now deep and very masculine. They must be watching the Comedy Channel again, probably something I wouldn’t approve of. They know that once I’m cocooned, I won’t be in to check. During a bit of silence, a bag rattles, and the unexpected noise causes prickles to tap dance on my skin. The remaining Doritoes would be gone by morning, my growing boys needing fuel for the mini-hibernation of a night’s sleep. Somewhere between thoughts of the grocery store, again, and anticipation of another day, I slept.
I feel like Rip Van Winkle sometimes, waking up to wonder what happened to the years that seem to have disappeared. The house is so quiet, the pace of my life so slow. I check my iPad calendar to see what day it is and to see if I need to take a few steps beyond normal and actually dress for an outing. Most days, I am happy to know it’s going to be another pajama day.